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Washington: Challenges posed by the rise of an aggressive China were discussed by US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel during their bilateral meeting at the White House.

“We talked about China and there is a lot of common understanding that China, in many areas, is our competitor,” Merkel told reporters at a joint news conference with Biden.

The two leaders, she said, talked about the many facets of cooperation and also of competition with China, be it in the economic area, climate protection, military sector, and security.

And obviously, there are a lot of challenges ahead, she told reporters.

“Trade with China needs to rest on the assumption that we have a level playing field so that we all play by the same rules and have the same standards. That, incidentally, was also the driving force behind the EU-China agreement on trade that they abide by the core labour norms of the ILO,” Merkel said.

Merkel said the US and Germany will cooperate in developing state of the art technologies including chips.

“We want to trade together at a time of digitalisation where security issues loom very large on our agendas. We ought to have an exchange on this; we ought to talk about is; we ought to talk about norms, standards, govern the internet, whether we can agree on common norms, I think, particularly as regards to our relationship with China,” Merkel said.

“We ought to coordinate our efforts. We do that in the European Union and we should do it with the United States. But we also have obviously, areas where American companies compete with European companies and we have to accept that,” she said in response to a question.

“Basically, the rules as to how we deal with China ought to rest and do rest on our shared values,” she added.

On the Covid pandemic, the German chancellor further said getting everyone vaccinated was vital and companies manufacturing anti-coronavirus vaccines must be encouraged to increase production.

“We are trying to boost production. We are also trying to get as many people in our country vaccinated as possible,” said the German Chancellor.

This opens us up to criticism from those countries that have not had the chance (to get vaccines) which is why we have invested a lot of money in COVAX and are encouraging our companies to increase their production of vaccines,” said the German Chancellor.



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