Panda diplomacy: Merkel and Xi pushed into awkward embrace before G20

Panda diplomacy: Merkel and Xi pushed into awkward embrace before G20By Noah Barkin BERLIN (Reuters) – When President Xi Jinping took the stage in Davos in January and painted China as a champion of free markets ready to fill the global leadership role vacated by the United States, German officials couldn’t help but chuckle. Six months later, as Xi arrives in Berlin for a highly symbolic visit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel before a Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, what seemed laughable in the thin mountain air of the Swiss Alps is not so absurd any more. Despite concerns about human rights in China, frustrations over market access and worries about a wave of corporate takeovers in Europe by state-run Chinese firms, Germany is being pushed into an awkward embrace with Beijing as Trump doubles down on his promise to put “America First”.



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