The German Government has sent an olive branch to Beijing’s communist regime by allowing a state owned Chinese shipping firm COSCO to acquire 24.9 per cent stakes in a container terminal at Hamburg port.
Berlin’s government has allowed a Chinese firm to take a smaller-than-planned stake in a Hamburg port, after Chancellor Olaf Scholz resisted calls to ban the controversial sale outright.
Under the compromise reached by Scholz's cabinet, Chinese shipping giant Cosco will be allowed to buy a stake "below 25 percent" in a container terminal owned by HHLA, the economy ministry said in a statement. "The reason for the partial prohibition is the existence of a threat to public order and safety."
China's state-owned Cosco had initially sought a 35-percent stake The agreement to settle for allowing a reduced stake of 24.9 percent, thereby depriving Cosco of voting rights, "reduces the acquisition to a purely financial participation", the economy ministry said.
But the face-saving compromise failed to silence some critics in German establishment.
The fate of the Tollerort terminal at Hamburg's port -- Europe's third busiest -- has sparked a fierce row in Scholz's coalition government, amid growing concern about critical infrastructure falling into foreign hands. Mr.Scholz, a former Hamburg mayor, had supported the sale and has repeatedly stressed the importance of strong trade ties with China even as Six German ministries, including those of economy, defense and foreign affairs, had opposed the Cosco sale.
Beijing meanwhile welcomed the deal's sign off and accused critics of "hyping up" the acquisition. "Cooperation is mutually beneficial. We hope the relevant parties will view pragmatic cooperation between China and Germany rationally and stop baselessly hyping it up," said foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin.