German Chancellor Olaf Scholz should certainly be commended for his clearly stated opposition to Germany and Europe decoupling from China, though his call for a "smart de-risking" echoing European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen foretells bilateral engagement will not be entirely smooth-sailing in the time ahead.
In a speech before the European Parliament on Tuesday, Scholz pointed to what he perceived was increased "rivalry and competition" from China. "The EU is aware of this development and is reacting accordingly. I agree with Ursula von der Leyen: We should not aim for a de-coupling, but a smart de-risking," he said.
The leader of the largest economy in Europe, Scholz appears to see eye to eye with the Chinese leadership on major issues such as trade liberalism and economic globalization, and he has voiced his support for his country developing closer trade and economic cooperation with China as well as their businesses expanding mutual investment to the benefit of both.
He was the first European leader to visit China after the conclusion of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China last November, during which he noted the key role that China plays as an important trading partner for Germany and for Europe as a whole, while expressing the wish that Germany will play its part in furthering Europe-China relations.
The interdependent nature of the two economies has made it almost impossible for Germany to decouple from China, a scenario that would cause the country's GDP to shrink by 2 percent, equivalent to a reduction of 600 billion euros ($658.2 billion), according to a latest research report of the Austrian Economic Research Institute.
All this makes any talk about "de-coupling" in terms of China-Europe cooperation hollow and pointless.
And while "de-risking" may be a useful political buzzword, there is nothing for it to be latched onto since China does not pose risks or threats to any of its global partners, given that the country sticks to a peaceful development path, pursues an opening-up strategy featuring mutually beneficial and win-win results, and upholds the international order based on international laws, as State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang, who was on a visit to Germany, said on Tuesday.
China's economic stability, policy consistency and predictability, as well as its vast development opportunities combine to make the country geoeconomic ballast amid the fast-changing global political and economic landscape.
Only those with a Cold War mentality who view affairs through an ideological lens would seek to politicize the economic, trade and investment cooperation between nations and pursue so-called decoupling or "de-risking" from China, an unwarranted endeavor that would only prove detrimental to their own interests in the end.