World / Europe

Merkel seeks change in behavior amid spying row

By Agence France-Presse in Berlin (China Daily) Updated: 2014-07-14 07:30

Merkel seeks change in behavior amid spying row

A photo taken in June 2013 shows US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel gesturing during a news conference at the Chancellery in Berlin. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday that she regrets the deterioration of the trust between the US and Germany, amid a row with the US over spying. Johannes Eisele / Agence France-Presse

Chancellor says scandal likely won't undermine trans-Atlantic trade deal

Chancellor Angela Merkel lamented on Saturday the breakdown in trust between Germany and the United States in a spying row that saw the CIA chief in Berlin expelled from the country.

"The thing we always have to keep in mind when we are working together is if the person across the table is possibly working for someone else at the same time, that for me isn't a trusting relationship," she told German ZDF television in a prerecorded interview.

"Here we obviously have different points of view, and we need to talk to one another," Merkel said, adding that she had "naturally hoped for a change" in Washington's behavior.

The shock move to kick out the US intelligence chief on Thursday followed the emergence of two alleged spying cases within days of each other, re-igniting German fury already at a low boil from another spying scandal last year in which it was revealed that Washington was monitoring Merkel's phone.

In the latest case, the German police on Wednesday searched the Berlin-area home and office of a man local media identified as a German defense ministry employee accused of passing secrets to the US.

A week earlier, a 31-year-old German BND foreign intelligence service operative was arrested on suspicion of having sold over 200 documents to the CIA.

While Merkel was critical of how the US intelligence services had behaved, she expressed the hope that the damage could be repaired.

"We no longer live in the Cold War era where everyone is suspicious of everyone. I think the secret services in the 21st century should concentrate on important issues," Merkel said. "We work very closely with the Americans, and I hope that will continue."

Revived ties expected

On Friday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest, who previously declined to go into detail about the row because it touched on intelligence matters, offered an insight into the US' thinking.

"Allies with sophisticated intelligence agencies like the United States and Germany understand with some degree of detail exactly what those intelligence relationships and activities entail," Earnest said.

"Any differences that we have are most effectively resolved through established private channels, not through the media."

The scandal has also seen the chancellor come under political pressure at home, with many Germany politicians urging a strong response.

She repeated, however, that the espionage affair would not jeopardize negotiations between Berlin and Washington over a trans-Atlantic trade deal.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier reacted to the scandal by saying he wanted a revived partnership with Washington, based on "trust and mutual respect".

He pledged to begin rebuilding confidence at a meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry in Vienna over the weekend.

On Sunday, Kerry said Germany and the US remain "great friends" despite a spying row.

"We have enormous political cooperation and we are great friends," he said in a joint news conference with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Vienna.

Trudeau visits Sina Weibo
May gets little gasp as EU extends deadline for sufficient progress in Brexit talks
Ethiopian FM urges strengthened Ethiopia-China ties
Yemen's ex-president Saleh, relatives killed by Houthis
Most Popular
Hot Topics