AFP Chancellor Scholz’s visit to the White House in February last year
NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 14:12
German Chancellor Scholz pays a flash visit to US President Biden at the White House today. On the agenda is a consultation on the war in Ukraine, which will largely take place behind closed doors.
Western arms support to Ukraine will be an important topic of discussion. Ukrainian President Zelensky would like to receive more heavy weapons from his allies. Last month, Scholz dined with Zelensky in Paris, where he was asked to provide fighter jets. Biden received the same request from Zelensky when he made a surprise visit to Kyiv a few weeks ago.
Germany and the United States are cooperating closely in their support for Ukraine. The US has been sending arms and ammunition to Ukraine since the beginning of the war and has already spent tens of billions of dollars on military aid. Germany kept a low profile for a long time for fear of military interference, but decided to make a turn in January by supplying heavy main battle tanks.
Germany correspondent Wouter Zwart:
“Scholz hardly takes any advisers along for this visit. This should mainly be a personal work meeting with President Biden, in which the two set the clocks. Especially now that it is becoming increasingly clear that the war in Ukraine can last for years.
Although Ukraine’s allies continue to express their unconditional support, some countries do raise the question of where that support ends. And under what circumstances may a diplomatic solution be considered at all. Agreement on this between the largest world power (US) and the most important European partner (Germany) is then of great importance.
The two leaders will discuss all scenarios in their conversation. The relationship between the two is good, but not without discussion. It was recently announced that Biden saw no point in supplying American tanks to Ukraine, but would only have tacked because Scholz himself did not want to give up German Leopard tanks without American participation.
The last time Scholz visited Washington was over a year ago, shortly before the Russian invasion. This time it will not be a ceremonial visit, and journalists are not invited. However, it is expected that Washington will announce another military aid package worth $ 400 million after the talks.
Criticism of China
China’s possible new role in the war will also be a topic of discussion. Germany and the US are concerned that China wants to supply arms to Russia, although there are no signs that this decision has been made yet. The Russian army has a growing shortage of equipment, and support from China would herald a new phase in the war.
Scholz called on China in a speech yesterday not to supply arms to Russia, but to put pressure on Moscow to withdraw its troops. Germany, which does a lot of business with China, is normally reluctant to criticize Beijing. There have been political and diplomatic tensions between the US and China for years, which last month increased further due to the balloon riot.
China sees itself as a neutral party in the war and wants to put itself forward as a peace negotiator, but Western countries say that is implausible. China is known in the West as Russia’s main ally, which has not condemned the invasion and remains behind Moscow.