US Diplomat Urges Merkel to Take ‘Firm Stance’ in China

September 4, 2019 Updated: September 4, 2019

BERLIN—The U.S. ambassador to Germany says “now is not the time for business as usual with China” as Chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to make her 12th visit to the country as German leader.

Merkel is due to visit Chinese leaders in Beijing on Sept. 6. She will travel with a business delegation.

In comments to The Associated Press on Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell said China’s “willful disregard of its commitments” to Hong Kong, the U.N. and World Trade Organization, along with human rights violations in Tibet and Xinjiang, show China’s Communist Party “stands against the values Germany cherishes.”

He says: “We hope that Chancellor Merkel will take a firm stance for the values that unified Germany after the fall of Communism: human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.”

Merkel spent most of her first four decades living in the Communist eastern half of divided Germany, working as a research scientist until the end of the Cold War led to reunification in 1990.

While never one of the pro-democracy activists who took considerable risks protesting the injustice and oppression of the Soviet-backed regime, she has described its collapse, which allowed her subsequent entry into democratic politics, as the most important turning-point in her life.

Reuters contributed to this report.