Olaf Scholz backs China and ignores German government over Hamburg port deal

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A row has erupted after broadcasters NDR and WDR announced that the German Chancellery is planning to approve a deal in which Chinese company Cosco Shipping Lines takes a 35% stake in a port terminal in Hamburg.

Six different ministries in Scholz’s coalition government have opposed the deal, according to The Local de, with Green party co-leader Omid Nouripour saying: “This is neither good for our economy nor for our security.”

The German ministry’s main objection over the partial ownership stems from concerns over security, on the grounds that the port is part of Germany’s ‘critical infrastructure’ and should not be owned by foreign rivals, says the Financial Times.

Michael Kruse, Head of the FDP in Hamburg, called the project “dangerous”, while conservative foreign policy expert Juergen Hardt said it would enable China to gain access to “sensitive internal insights”.

According NDR and WDR, the deal would be approved automatically if the government does not intervene by the end of October.

China has a key economic relationship with Germany.

However, tensions have arisen amid reports of human rights violations in Xinjiang, as well as China’s ‘zero Covid policy’ which has seen parts of the country in strict lockdown since the start of the pandemic.

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