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China says US has ‘no right’ to interfere in Hamburg port deal

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The U.S. has “no right” to interfere in Chinese cooperation with Germany, the foreign ministry said on Thursday, after Washington “strongly suggested” that Beijing would not get a controlling stake in a contested deal regarding Hamburg’s port terminal, Reuters reports. 

U.S. interference is symptomatic of its practice of coercive diplomacy, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters at a daily briefing in Beijing.

“Pragmatic cooperation between China and Germany is a matter for the two sovereign countries, the United States should not attack it without reason and has no right to meddle and interfere,” Zhao said Thursday, a day before German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was due in Beijing for a one day visit where he is expected to meet President Xi Jinping.

Chinese shipping giant Cosco made a bid last year to take a 35% stake in one of logistics firm HHLA’s three terminals in Germany’s largest port, but Germany’s coalition has been divided over whether to let the deal go ahead.

Germany may allow China’s Cosco to take a smaller stake than originally planned in a Hamburg port terminal, in what an economy ministry source last week described as an “emergency solution” to approve the deal but mitigate the impact.