The US and Germany on Friday vowed to stand up for free democratic societies across the world, asserting that they would make their ‘voices heard’ when they saw a country like China attempting to undermine human rights. In a meeting between US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House, a 50-minute discussion was held between the two leaders on geopolitical matters of importance, with significant stress on restraining China’s influence. Both ‘competition and cooperation’ with China, apart from discussions on Russian aggression, waiving IP on COVID-19 vaccines, and development projects of bilateral importance were held at the White House meeting, according to the New York Times.
In a veiled dig at China, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “We are countries who stand up for free, democratic societies. Wherever human rights are not guaranteed, we will make our voices heard.”
On the other hand, President Joe Biden took a more direct approach and called out the Communist country and its attempts to undermine democratic principles and universal rights. “We will stand up for democratic principles and universal rights when we see China or any other country working to undermine free and open societies… we are united in our commitment to addressing democratic backsliding, corruption, phoney populism,” Biden remarked.
It was an honor to welcome my dear friend Chancellor Merkel to the White House. In today’s meetings we agreed to the Washington Declaration — a document that affirms our shared commitment to democratic principles and pledges to apply them to meet the biggest challenges we face. pic.twitter.com/GzhaZCc9i4 — President Biden (@POTUS) July 15, 2021
US crackdown on China
US President Joe Biden has taken a hard stance on China and its abuse of human rights in the Xianjing province and has repeatedly called out the country for its violations. According to reports, the US is planning to issue a warning and impose more sanctions in response to Beijing’s crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong and the genocide that is being committed against Uyghur Muslims. It has already launched a crackdown on several companies that are said to be involved in surveillance in Xinjiang and has imposed heavy sanctions against them. Around 34 Chinese companies have been accused of “genocide and crimes against humanity” by the US. Biden has also upheld a Trump-era rejection of nearly all of China’s significant maritime claims in the South China Sea.
Apart from China, the US and Germany also held talks on the contentious USD 11 billion Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a natural gas conduit being built between Germany and Russia. The two also announced the formation of a US-German Futures Forum and economic dialogue to increase technology, democratic principles and global partnerships with groups like the EU and NATO. Moreover, they vowed to launch a joint climate partnership with a focus on achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
(With Agency Inputs)