Merkel and Xi meet to lay foundations for G20 talks

Merkel and Xi meet to lay foundations for G20 talks

Fresh from talks in Russia, China’s President Xi Jinping meets Angela Merkel today—a preamble to the much-talked about G20 summit

Photo: AFP

Photo: AFP

Fresh from talks in Russia, China’s President Xi Jinping meets Angela Merkel today—a preamble to the much-talked about G20 summit on Friday.

Ms Merkel will enlist Chinese assistance to “promote global economic governance”, particularly on climate change and free trade—two areas that will take centre-stage at the G20.  Germany had previously worked with the United States to promote these causes, but President Trump’s “America First” inward-looking agenda have Germany searching for alternative great power partners to help push for internationalist policies.

Relations between the US and Germany have soured recently. Several cabinet members have criticised Mr Trump, with Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel accusing Trump of “putting peace in Europe at risk”. Meanwhile, Merkel’s ruling party, the CDU, recently stripped language from its campaign platform that described the US as a “friend” and the “cornerstone” of German international relations.

A productive meeting could hasten a shift in German allegiances away from the United States toward other countries, China among them. But ultimately, Berlin’s strong ties to Washington will endure, particularly in the security arena; Ms Merkel will have to find a way to work with President Trump, at least for the next three and a half years.