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The German candidate wants to take a tougher stance towards China and Russia

BERLIN (AP) – The leading candidate to replace Angela Merkel as German Chancellor this fall has called for a “dialogue-tough” approach to China when it comes to democratic values ​​and human rights.

Environmental candidate for Green Chancellor Analena Baerbok told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung weekly that Europe should use its economic power to block Chinese forced labor and avoid communications technologies that threaten European security.

“We are now in competition between the systems.” “Authoritarian forces are against liberal democracy,” he said in an interview published on Sunday.

Baerbock described China’s investment in infrastructure infrastructure networks from Central Asia to Europe as a “brutal policy of force.”

“We Europeans should not make fun of ourselves,” he said, adding that the 27-nation bloc should act appropriately to defend its values, such as using the recent agreement between Brussels and Beijing to tackle China more strongly. forcing its Uyghur minority into forced labor.

Baerbok, a graduate of international law, also aims to support Russia, in particular by supporting insurgent groups in Ukraine and, more recently, the massive Russian military presence along the Ukrainian border.

He supported Ukraine’s right to apply for NATO և EU membership, but said: “The most important thing now is to increase pressure on Russia to abide by the Minsk agreement.” The agreement aims to peacefully end the conflict in eastern Ukraine with Russian-backed rebels who have killed at least 14,000 people since 2014.

Against the background of Moscow’s aggressive behavior, Baerbock criticized the German government’s support for the underwater pipeline that brings Russian natural gas to Germany.

“I would have withdrawn political support for Nord Stream 2 for a long time,” he said.

The Greens are calling for closer cooperation with the United States to defend liberal values ​​around the world, but Baerbock suggests that NATO members spend 2% of their gross domestic product on defense, which should be reconsidered given the need to invest heavily. curb climate change. He added that Europe’s defense investment could also be in the form of a cyber security hub.

“On the other hand, the 2% goal of the blanket can not achieve greater security,” he said.

The Greens emerged from the pacifist-environmental movements of the 1970s and 1980s, but in recent years have advocated limited military deployment abroad, provided they are linked to UN resolutions.

Baerbok stated that the future of US nuclear weapons in Europe may rise again in the framework of the Moscow-Washington nuclear disarmament talks.

A poll released by Bild am Sonntag on Sunday put the Greens narrowly ahead of Merkel’s center-right bloc.

On September 26, the Germans will elect a new parliament, which will then choose who should be the next chancellor of the country. Merkel is not running for a fifth term.

A poll conducted by the Kantar polling company found that 28% of respondents plan to vote for the Greens and 27% against the Union bloc. The center-left Social Democrats are expected to receive about 13% support, while the far-right Alternative for Germany will receive 10%. A poll of 1,225 voters found that pro-Free Democrat businessmen would get 9% and the Left Party 7%.

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