German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed the hope on February 16 that China should be involved in international disarmament efforts. “We would of course be glad if such talks were held not just between the United States, Europe and Russia but also with China,” said Merkel at the 55th Munich Security Conference.
Her remarks were clearly directed against Washington and Moscow’s withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, who was also present at the conference, reiterated that “we [China] are opposed to the multilateralization of INF.”
The INF treaty concerns Europe and Germany’s interests. The US took the lead in abandoning INF, resulting in the collapse of the arms control system.
It is understandable that Berlin is anxious, but Merkel’s hasty call for Beijing is rather inappropriate. Her words disrespect China’s interests and wishes, and objectively encourage Washington to quit irresponsibly.
Washington alleged that INF failed because Moscow did not comply with INF and Beijing was not bound by the treaty. These were its main excuses for the withdrawal.
Germany believes that the more countries involved in INF, the better. However, many European countries can never understand the security risks and the urgency to strengthen national defense in other regions.
The INF Treaty was signed by the US and the Soviet Union. It was a compromise between the two superpowers with the same level of military power to ease their confrontations.
Although China is now much stronger than it was in the past, its nuclear power and comprehensive military strength are far from being equal to those of the US and conducting negotiations on an equal footing.
The Europeans are clear that the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty is part of its America First agenda and an abandonment of its international obligations.
At the Munich security conference, Merkel and European countries criticized recent US security policies. But on the issue of the INF treaty, Merkel snubbed China to serve US interests, reflecting the selfishness of Germans and some Europeans.
It is natural that Europeans consider more of their own interests, but they should stick to justice in major affairs otherwise double standards will prevail.
Europe does not feel any threat from China’s missiles. In security, Europe is caught in the middle of Moscow and Washington.
Europe is not the source of China’s security pressure. But Germany has dragged China into its own security plight, which not only damages China’s interests, but also leads Europeans in the wrong direction for their security concerns.
Globalization has remolded the existing power pattern and will also change the world’s political landscape. The era that Europe’s interests are tied with the Western camp is ending. America First will become the dominant principle in trans-Atlantic ties. Europe is destined to fall behind the US and needs to recalculate its orientation.
As the world’s second largest economy, China needs defense capabilities which should be more powerful than it has now so as to build peace in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. A peaceful and stable Asia-Pacific region will benefit Europe.
The Asia-Pacific is far from reaching a balance of power. Germans are clear about the wide gap between the Chinese and US militaries. Merkel’s words are nothing but a bubble in thin air.
Posted in: EDITORIAL