Allies blast Scholz over Chinese investment in German port

Oct 20, 2022, 4:02 AM | Updated: 12:05 pm

BERLIN (AP) — Lawmakers from two of Germany’s governing parties on Thursday slammed plans for Chinese shipping group COSCO to take a major stake in the operator of the country’s biggest container terminal, warning that they pose a national security risk.

Public broadcaster NDR reported that Chancellor Olaf Scholz has asked officials to find a compromise that would allow the investment in Hamburg to happen, after six ministries initially rejected it on the grounds that COSCO, already the port’s biggest customer, could get too much leverage.

Two officials with knowledge of the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren’t authorized to be quoted, confirmed that several ministries opposed the deal. Scholz’s office said the investment review would follow existing rules but declined further comment, citing business confidentiality.

Lawmakers from the Green party and the Free Democrats, which formed a coalition last year with Scholz’ Social Democrats, openly criticized the plan.

“Our critical infrastructure must not become a plaything for the geopolitical interests of others,” Green party lawmaker Marcel Emmerich said. Citing a past government decision by one of Scholz’s fellow Social Democrats to let Russia buy German natural gas storage facilities, he accused the chancellor of wanting to “flog off parts of the port of Hamburg to China, whatever it takes.”

The pro-business Free Democrats likewise expressed opposition to the deal.

“The Chinese Communist Party must not have access to our country’s critical infrastructure,” the party’s general secretary, Bijan Djir-Sarai, told German news agency dpa. “That would be a mistake and a risk.”

“China is an importing trading partner but also a systemic rival,” he was quoted as saying. “We should act accordingly.”

Another Free Democrat lawmaker, Reinhard Houben, told news portal t-online that the chancellery should respect the decision by six ministries opposing the sale.

But Hamburg port operator HHLA insisted that it would retain “sole control over all significant decisions” if COSCO takes a 35% stake in the container terminal business.

“The cooperation between HHLA and COSCO does not create any one-sided dependencies,” it said. “On the contrary: it strengthens supply chains, secures jobs and promotes value creation in Germany.”

The spat comes days after Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Berlin must avoid repeating with China the mistakes it made with Russia over recent years, leading to a dependence on Russian energy imports.

German intelligence agencies also warned this week of China’s rising might and how it could become a risk for Germany, particularly because of the strong economic and scientific ties between the two countries.

In a hearing with lawmakers, the head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, Thomas Haldenwang, made a comparison with the current geopolitical turmoil over the war in Ukraine, saying that “Russia is the storm, China is climate change.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


UoA student convicted of first-degree murder after killing professor...

Associated Press

Former Arizona grad student convicted of first-degree murder in 2022 shooting of professor

A former University of Arizona grad student was convicted of first-degree murder after fatally shooting a professor on campus two years ago.

2 hours ago

Rudy Giuliani bankruptcy filing defamation lawsuit...

Associated Press

Ex-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Arizona’s Kelli Ward plead not guilty in fake elector case

Giuliani appeared remotely for the arraignment that was held in a Phoenix courtroom. His trial will take place in October.

9 hours ago

President Joe Biden gestures after speaking to graduating students at the Morehouse College commenc...

Associated Press

Biden tells Morehouse graduates that scenes in Gaza from the Israel-Hamas war break his heart, too

Joe Biden on Sunday offered his most direct recognition of U.S. students' anguish over the Israel-Hamas war.

2 days ago

Rudy Giuliani...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani is the final defendant served indictment in Arizona fake elector case

Rudy Giuliani has been served an indictment in Arizona's fake elector case for his role in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

3 days ago

Houston storms cause widespread damage on Friday...

Associated Press

Some in Houston facing no power for weeks after storms cause widespread damage, killing at least 4

Houston storms cause widespread damage on Friday, May 17. Thunderstorms hit the southeastern part of Texas, killing at least four people.

4 days ago

Follow @ktar923...

Sponsored Content by Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Allies blast Scholz over Chinese investment in German port