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    German Strategy on China
    (SOAS University of London: China Institute, 2024-02-15)
    Today’s world is unthinkable without the People’s Republic of China. The country’s significance is immense. Over the past 20 years, trade with China has been the guarantor of prosperity for almost all Western countries; to effectively address global challenges such as climate change, China’s active participation is necessary; geopolitically, the country also plays a crucial mediating role. At the same time, however, China repeatedly positions itself outside of the rules-based international order. Against this backdrop, Western countries have been discussing the possible contours of a revised stance toward the People’s Republic of China for several years, aiming to counter the country’s increased power consciousness and ambition to shape global affairs. In this vein, in July 2023, the Federal Republic of Germany introduced the “Strategy on China,” the first comprehensive concept paper on China policy by a European nation, attempting to address the aforementioned ambivalence in its relationship with China: It views China as a key partner in addressing global issues, as an economic competitor, and also as a systemic rival – especially in light of China’s efforts to reshape the rules-based international order. After the paper’s initial broad reception and discussion both nationally and internationally, little has been heard about the German Strategy on China six months post-publication. Is it, therefore, just another political concept paper that, although refined over 18 months by a wide range of actors at various political levels, a policy document that has largely remained without effect? In this piece, I argue that the document is not being given its due if perceived merely as a strategy paper in the narrow sense, which, as has often been called for, something that should outline concrete steps on how Germany could reduce its structural economic dependency on China (“De-Risking”). Instead, in my view, the relevance of this paper lies within the document itself. It represents a significant political positioning with an importance that should not be underestimated, both domestically and internationally – in three respects.