Germany’s Scholz in China amid trade, Ukraine, rights issues

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has arrived in Beijing for a one-day visit that has drawn criticism over China’s tacit support for Russia in its war on Ukraine

BEIJING — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz arrived in Beijing on Friday for a one-day visit that has drawn criticism over China’s tacit support for Russia in its war on Ukraine and lingering controversy over economic and human rights issues.

The German Embassy confirmed the arrival of Scholz and a business delegation traveling with him. He was scheduled to receive a formal welcome from president and newly reelected head of the ruling Communist Party Xi Jinping, hold a working lunch and then meet with Premier Li Keqiang, who nominally has responsibility over the economy.

Despite their political disputes, Scholz’s visit reflects the importance of Germany’s trade ties with the world’s second-largest economy.

In an article for the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Scholz said he was traveling to Beijing “precisely because business as usual is not an option in this situation.”

“It is clear that if China changes, the way we deal with China must also change,” Scholz said, adding that “we will reduce one-sided dependencies in the spirit of smart diversification.” Scholz also said he would address “difficult issues” such as the rights of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.

Scholz is the first leader from the G7 group of industrialized nations to meet with Xi since the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic, which was fir