Germany Selling Critical Infrastructure to China

Chris

Administrator
Staff member
Germany Selling Critical Infrastructure to China
By Judith Bergman

Originally Published by the Gatestone Institute.

Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz has apparently learned nothing from Germany’s fatal mistake of becoming dependent on Russian gas.

On October 26, Germany’s government decided to let the Chinese state-owned enterprise COSCO Shipping Ports, which has links to China’s People’s Liberation Army, buy a stake in the Port of Hamburg. COSCO is the world’s third-largest container carrier measured by capacity, and the fifth-largest port terminal operator in terms of the amount of cargo and vessels that it handles, according to German think-tank Merics. The Port of Hamburg is Germany’s largest port and the second-largest port in Europe, making it part of Europe’s most critical infrastructure.

The deal will let COSCO have a 24.9% stake in the port and is a compromise following a dispute within the government between Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz and six of his government ministers. The original plan was to give COSCO a 35% stake in the port, in addition to taking over shares in the port operator Hamburger Hafen und Logistik (HHLA).

Scholz wanted to forge ahead despite opposition to the deal from all six ministries that have been involved in reviewing the deal and have rejected it because the deal concerns critical infrastructure. Instead, Scholz was looking for a “compromise” so the deal could still go ahead, which Scholz has now managed to accomplish.

The original deal was made back in September 2021, but subject to regulatory approval. Prior to the deal, the European Commission reportedly warned Germany not to approve COSCO taking the 35% stake in Hamburg’s port, saying that sensitive information could reach China if it did.

“We have learned that dependencies from countries which then might use their own interests in order to blackmail us are no longer just an abstract phenomenon,” German Economy Minister Robert Habeck, who opposed the deal, said. “We shouldn’t repeat these mistakes.”

Germany’s Foreign Ministry had also reportedly warned that an investment by COSCO “disproportionately expands China’s strategic influence on German and European transport infrastructure as well as Germany’s dependence on China… considerable risks… arise when elements of European transport infrastructure are influenced and controlled by China — while China itself does not allow Germany to participate in Chinese ports. In this respect, the acquisition of the container terminal does not only have an economic, but especially a geopolitical aspect.”

The Foreign Ministry clearly fears that in a time of crisis between the countries, China’s investment in the port would allow it “to possibly instrumentalize part of Germany’s – and therefore Europe’s – critical infrastructure.”

Marcel Fratzscher, the head of the German Institute for Economic Research denounced the compromise:

“The German government is repeating the mistake of many previous federal governments by prioritizing short-term economic interests over long-term prosperity and prosperity and stability.”

According to Politico:

“The acquisition is part of a broader strategic gambit by Beijing to gain control over infrastructure critical to its globe-spanning Belt and Road trade initiative, a network of transport connections intended to link China’s factories with rich Western markets.

“Cosco already owns stakes in Europe’s two largest ports at Rotterdam and Antwerp, while it also controls the port of Piraeus in Athens and is behind a scheme to expand an inland rail terminal at Duisburg where the Ruhr and the Rhine rivers meet and which is a focal point for overland freight arriving from China’s industrial hubs.”


In China, COSCO is designated as one of 53 “important backbone state-owned enterprises,” according to a February 2021 report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. The report states:

“COSCO’s status as an important backbone SOE [state-owned enterprise] means that it’s uniquely beholden to the CCP in a way that other SOEs aren’t… COSCO’s organisational structure includes paramilitary capabilities that can be mobilised by the Chinese regime to defeat threats to the CCP’s interests. One such capability is the company’s in-house militia…”

Furthermore, COSCO has been described as the People Liberation Army Navy’s (PLAN’s) “leading supplier, providing Beijing with built-in shore-based support for the PLAN through a commercial enterprise structured to align with Chinese naval strategy, to an extent that leads some naval analysts to refer to COSCO as the fifth arm of the PLAN.”

Several members of Germany’s government coalition, which consists of the Green Party, the Free Democrat Party (FDP), and Scholz’s Social Democrat Party (SPD) had denounced the proposed deal with COSCO.

Green Party Co-Chair Ricarda Lang said that Germany “should learn from mistakes and not create new dependencies” and that she has “no understanding” of why Scholz would move ahead with the deal when relevant government ministries have criticized it.

“The Chinese Communist Party must not have access to our country’s critical infrastructure,” FDP General Secretary Bijan Djir-Sarai said. “That would be mistake and a risk.”

The opposition also criticized the deal.

“Against the advice of his ministers, the chancellor apparently wants to increase dependence on China,” Jens Spahn of the center-right Christian Democratic Union party said. “This sell-out of German infrastructure would be a mistake. German ports do not belong in Chinese hands, especially since Europeans can’t take a stake in ports in China.”

China declared as its ambition in 2012 that it wishes to become a global “maritime power” and China’s investments in and ownership of ports worldwide should be seen as part of achieving this ambition by expanding its global maritime reach. As of July 2020, Chinese firms reportedly “(partly) owned or operated some ninety-five ports across the globe.”

Out of the 95 ports, 22 are in Europe, 20 in the Middle East and North Africa, 18 in the Americas, 18 in South and Southeast Asia, and nine in sub-Saharan Africa. Just three Chinese companies, among them COSCO Shipping Ports, account for the operations of 81% of those ports.

According to an April 2022 report from Clingendael, a Dutch think-tank:

“Chinese state-owned companies such as COSCO and China Merchants, as well the Hong Kong based private firm Hutchison, have invested in most of Europe’s largest ports.”

In Greece, COSCO has completely taken over Piraeus, Greece’s largest port.

“In many instances these investments are in container terminals. The exception is Piraeus, Greece’s largest port. In this case, COSCO took a majority stake not only in a container terminal, but also in the port authority that operates the whole port, including activities such as cruise and ferry shipping.”

China’s investments in various European ports can also be used to play the ports against each other. Hans-Jörg Heims, a spokesman for HHLA, which COSCO is supposed to take shares in according to the deal, had argued that unless the deal was allowed to go through, Hamburg would be disadvantaged compared to the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp, competitors with the port of Hamburg that are already partly owned by COSCO.

“Our competitors Rotterdam and Antwerp will be very pleased if this deal falls through,” Heims told Politico.

China’s port investments create obvious leverage for the country and increase international dependence on China. Scholz, regardless of the hard lessons that Germany has had to learn with regard to German dependence on Russian gas, has a state visit to China coming up in early November with a German business delegation; letting the COSCO deal fall through would not look good when trying to attract lucrative business deals. China is an key trading partner for Germany: In 2021, it was Germany’s top trading partner for the sixth consecutive year.

Some EU leaders, who say that Scholz should not be making separate deals with China and that the EU should speak with a “single voice” to China, have criticized Scholz’s upcoming trip.

“It is in their interest that we are divided. It’s in our interest that we are united,” Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said. Latvia’s Prime Minister said the EU must take a “united approach to China.”

Even French President Emmanuel Macron appeared to be criticizing Scholz, who will be the first Western leader to visit China since the start of the Covid pandemic.

“We have made strategic errors in the past with the sale of infrastructures to China,” Macron said. “We’ve been naive because we considered that there was a public-finance issue to fix — and that Europe was an open supermarket.” The EU, Macron concluded, needs to establish a framework on what it considers “sensitive points.”

Judith Bergman, a columnist, lawyer and political analyst, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.

https://www.raptureforums.com/polit...any-selling-critical-infrastructure-to-china/
 

MapleLeaf

Well-Known Member
China is funding Canadian politicians and running police stations here. Our leaders have truly been given over to a deranged mind. It just makes no logical sense to me for our countries' leaders to sell us out like that. And they're giving up their own leverage should China gain power over everything. I just don't see the long-term gain even for themselves. They're truly deluded.
 

Wally

Choose your words carefully...
Follow the money.
My guess is running european ports and shipping is more expensive. China with cash on hand and slave labor to back up their prices is sucking away business.

If you want to protect domestic structure, you need to tariff China to level the costs.

Maybe if the workers scream loud enough, trash a few containers, refuse to buy... oh yea,..... no one listens and most everything is hecho en China.

With a depression looming, people will be open to a save the nation fervor with vilification of the people who caused this mess.
It must be those rich money grubbing Jews and their Christian supporters.... interesting how history repeats...

If we are not careful MAGA can mutate into Nazi very stealth-fully.
 

TimeWarpWife

Well-Known Member
Anyone else think it's looking like China is slowly invading every country by buying up land, companies, housing (they put pregnant Chinese Nationalist women in them to give birth so their children are given American citizenship), etc.?
 

Wally

Choose your words carefully...
But remember, the Chinese are people just like us, and suffer the same sin effects. American culture permeates everything and it does not take long for kids to dump their parents. China politics work well in China, but its going to rot from within like every other government.

God lifts up and brings down kings.
 
Top