LONDON • Of all European nations, Germany can claim to have a truly special relationship with China. It is Beijing's largest single European trading partner. And while the European Union as a whole records huge deficits with China which last year alone amounted to a whopping €177 billion (S$288 billion), Germany regularly enjoys a substantial surplus. So, if there is one country eager not to offend China, Germany should be that one.
But the opposite appears to be true. For in speech delivered recently at a conference which brought together Europe's top leaders and strategic experts, Germany Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel singled out China not as an economic partner, but as a security concern.