Germany Needs China, China Needs Germany

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang attend a joint press conference at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on April 14 in Beijing, China.
Suo Takekuma - Pool/Getty Images

Germany Needs China, China Needs Germany

Last week ended with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock’s three-day visit (April 13–15) to China. To many, her visit provided reassurance that Europe still stands on the side of freedom. In interviews and press conferences, she condemned China’s military advances toward Taiwan. Still Baerbock was greatly welcomed because what happens behind the scenes is more important to China. These two nations are increasing cooperation.

Before Baerbock’s visit, French President Emmanuel Macron set off alarm bells for his anti-America rhetoric. He declared that Europe wouldn’t follow America in decoupling from China—even if China were to invade Taiwan. Europe, however, is led by Germany. After this weekend, the world moved on—reassured that Germany had prevented a major diplomatic fallout and the establishment of a destructive new world order.

Yet words are quick to deceive. A look behind the scenes reveals Germany’s true intent.

Why Germany Needs China

The Kiel Institute noted after a February study that decoupling from China would be especially costly for Germany. Based on statistics from 2019, Germany could lose more than €131 billion (us$143 billion) worth of income (that total would be higher if China were to retaliate). This would mean “considerable losses in prosperity for Germany,” according to Alexander Sandkamp, coauthor of the Kiel Policy Brief “Empty Shelves Made in China.”

But while the decoupling would be a setback, it would be an even greater loss of opportunity. China has been Germany’s biggest trading partner for seven consecutive years, but current indication is that China is getting the better of Germany. In 2022, imports from China grew much faster than exports to it. Germany’s trade deficit with China grew to more than €84 billion in 2022 from about €39 billion in 2021, Bloomberg noted.

Reversing that trade deficit could empower Germany.

The European Union has worked on a trade and investment deal with China—though a breakthrough was halted in 2020. A future deal could provide Europe more opportunities. Part of the reason European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Macron traveled to Beijing was to ease trade relations.

China has been hostile to foreign companies—so it is a nearly untapped market of opportunities. If Europe wants to become the superpower that Macron is calling for, increased trade with China would be a way to do it.

basf is Germany’s and the world’s largest chemical company, and ceo Martin Brudermüller sees the company’s future in China. He told reporters in February: “Name me just one investment in Europe where we could make money.” Given this reality, he noted at his company’s annual earnings conference that basf’s profit in China offset losses in Europe caused by high energy costs and environmental rules.

Germany’s green agenda, which is causing these environmental rules, is another reason for greater cooperation with China. Lithium and rare earth elements primarily come from China and are critical for Germany’s energy transition. Over the weekend, Germany’s last nuclear power plant was shut down, driving Germany to China even more.

Some of these events caused the New York Times to conclude, “As U.S. Tries to Isolate China, German Companies Move Closer.” This is the reality Macron was talking about. To deepen ties, Volkswagen is willing to build in-dash karaoke machines into their cars to appeal to larger segments of the Chinese market. Such innovation would probably have never been thought of in Germany but it could make a decisive difference in Asia. basf and Volkswagen are only a few of many big German companies seeking to increase ties with China, the New York Times noted.

While we can expect Germany to diversify and make agreements with other nations, Germany is currently doing the opposite of decoupling from China. The reason is not that its economy can’t survive without China—but rather that China gives Germany an opportunity for growth.

Why China Needs Germany

If you want to understand German and Chinese cooperation, it can be good to look at China’s own state-funded media. “In terms of finance, Europe, as one of the world’s financial hubs, has a large amount of funds that seek overseas investment opportunities,” wrote the Global Times. “Meanwhile, China offers relatively good development opportunities compared with many other economies, providing good investment opportunities for European investors that can hardly be found elsewhere.”

Dong Dengxin, director of the Finance and Securities Institute of the Wuhan University of Science and Technology, told the Global Times that calls for Europe to decouple from China to follow the U.S. are ridiculous. He claims that China and Europe are more compatible economically. The two of them also seek independence from the dollar.

In 2022, the People’s Bank of China and the European Central Bank extended a bilateral currency swap for another three years. The announcement came as a result of “mounting pressure from a strong U.S. dollar,” according to the Global Times. The two are banding together to increase independence from the U.S. The currency swap agreement is one way to avoid the dollar and save transaction costs for businesses.

Luo Pan, introduced by the Global Times as a veteran financial observer, noted: “China and Europe have formed a huge development area via Central Asia. The area, which is home to more than half of the world’s population, has enormous potential for consumption.” Germany often talks about broadening its relations with other nations in Asia to become less dependent on China—but China is seeking control of that region itself and happy for Europe to invest in it.

Now consider if the U.S. decoupled from China. China would be in far greater need for investment independent of the dollar. Europe could fill that void. Thus, in a trade war, China may need the German-led EU even more than Germany needs China.

Two Superpowers Rising

What we are witnessing is not mere economic considerations, it’s about the rise of two mighty superpowers. Russia and China are becoming increasingly militaristic and uniting Asia through trade or force. At the same time, Germany is building a European economic powerhouse with the ambition of creating a “third superpower” with an EU army, as Macron put it.

Today, the world is alarmed by Russia’s war on Ukraine and China’s threats on Taiwan, though few fear that something like this could happen to the U.S. But the hatred toward the U.S.-led system is growing, and nations are uniting against it. America’s economy is already crumbling. And prophecies in Deuteronomy 28, Isaiah 23 and Ezekiel 5 reveal that it will get a lot worse.

The Bible not only reveals that America’s fall will come, but it also shows how it will occur. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry warned in the December 2014 Trumpet issue: “America’s enemies are going to cause economic problems and bring on destruction in many ways ‘until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the Lord thy God hath given thee’ [Deuteronomy 28:52].”

Right now, it would be foolish for China or Europe to try to invade the United States. But the Bible reveals that the invasion will be preceded by a devastating siege, large-scale starvation and civil war. This is the frightening reality that the Bible warns about. But it is also the only hope for mankind to come to repentance.

Mr. Flurry’s book Ezekiel—The End-Time Prophet explains in detail that America’s rebellion against God’s law, summarized by the Ten Commandments, arouses God’s fury. God’s punishment will lead to America’s repentance and the repentance of the whole world. Everyone who fails to heed God’s warning today and take appropriate action will be affected. The trumpet of Ezekiel 33 is being blown. He who hears “the sound of the trumpet” but refuses to heed the warning, “his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul” (verse 5).

God has a plan for all mankind, but many have to suffer before they heed the warning. God is asking: “[W]hy will ye die, O house of Israel?” (verse 11).

To understand the warning contained in the book of Ezekiel along with the wonderful hope, request a free copy of Ezekiel—The End-Time Prophet.