Scholz called cooperation with the US “very good” and said it was important to maintain transatlantic solidarity and their support for Ukraine.
“It’s very important that we work together,” Scholz said, adding that “it’s important to send the message that we will continue to work as long as we can.”
Biden told Scholes: “I want to thank you for your strong and consistent leadership. I mean it. It’s made a huge difference.” The US president also thanked Scholes for Germany’s “profound” support for Ukraine.
The two leaders held discussions behind closed doors but spoke briefly in front of reporters.
It was Schall’s first trip to Washington DC since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February last year.
Biden also praised Scholz’s decision to increase Germany’s military spending, diversify its energy sources and reduce its dependence on Russian gas.
“As NATO allies, we are strengthening the alliance,” Biden added.
Why are the US and Germany worried about China?
Ahead of the meeting, the German chancellor called on China to “use your influence in Moscow to press for the withdrawal of Russian troops” and “not to supply arms to aggressor Russia”. Speech at the Bundestag on Thursday.
“We have no indication that the Chinese have decided to move forward with supplying Russia with any lethal weapons or capabilities,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby told DW.
“They haven’t taken it off the table, but we don’t see any signs of them moving in that direction right now, and we certainly hope they don’t.”
Such a move could have the potential to drag out the Russian war in Ukraine, which has already dragged on for more than a year. This could fuel friction between Germany and the US due to differing positions in Beijing.
China is Germany’s largest trading partner. Bringing up the possibility of US sanctions against China if it decides to send arms could pose a problem for Berlin. Beijing could have a role to play in bringing about peace, he suggested.
Germany and US ‘deep bonds of friendship’
The low-key meeting between the two leaders followed Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan revealing that the US only agreed to send Abrams tanks to Ukraine because Germany did it. A condition of sending its own Leopard 2 tanks.
Scholz may have raised the issue of US subsidies for green technologies – part of the Inflationary Reduction Act (IRA). It provoked anger among US allies in Europe As they face the effects of Russia’s invasion, they say it is putting their companies at a disadvantage.
Friday’s meeting “is not a sign of a crisis. It is an opportunity to deepen the personal relationship between the two leaders,” said Sudha David-Wilp, head of the Berlin bureau of the German Marshall Fund think tank.
“Washington still sees Berlin as the leading military power in Europe. This is an opportunity to take stock,” he added.
rm, ab/sms (Reuters, AP)
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