China delegation in Berlin – Both partner and ‘systemic rival’?

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says he is seeking a more balanced relationship with China. Chinese Premier Li Qiang and Chancellor Scholz have been holding talks in Berlin. He stressed the importance of engaging with Beijing in a challenging global environment, and called on China to put more pressure on Russia over the war in Ukraine. It’s Premier Li’s first foreign trip since taking office, and it’s hoped that this can re-set relations between the two trading partners. The new Chinese Premier Li Qiang urged more economic ties between his country and Germany at the start of a visit to Europe — his first trip overseas. Qiang met with German chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin, where he said the two nations had an obligation to work together on a continued economic recovery after the pandemic. Qiang’s visit comes as major Western economies including Germany have actually sought to ‘de-risk’ from China — or lower trade-ties — due to geopolitical concerns. China is Germany’s largest trade partner outside of the EU. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz welcomed the Chinese Premier ahead of formal discussions. Climate change and economic issues top the agenda, but Germany is expected to also raise more contentious issues – such as China’s closeness to Russia and the country’s alleged human rights abuses.