Merkel backs Xi on need to avoid new cold war, but presses China on human rights, transparency

Merkel backs Xi on need to avoid new cold war, but presses China on human rights, transparency

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she agrees with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the need to avoid a new cold war amid calls for a transatlantic alliance between US and Europe to counter China, but says she will continue to press Beijing on human rights and transparency.

“The Chinese president spoke yesterday, and he and I agree on that,” she told the World Economic Forum on Tuesday evening. “We see a need for multilateralism.”

Diplomatic observers said Merkel was expressing her vision of how the EU should handle relations with China amid suggestions the US and European Union should form an alliance to counter Beijing, which they both regard as a rival.

The German leader was referring to Xi’s speech on Monday, when he called for setting aside ideological differences, avoiding a new cold war and promoting multiculturalism. The remarks were made as the Joe Biden administration in the US was busy trying to repair ties with allies troubled by the Trump presidency.