The West German government in Bonn and top German Asia specialists welcomed the U.S. move enthusiastically since in many ways it reflects and brings security to the path Bonn took six years ago when, in 1972, it became one of the first major West European countries to establish diplomatic relations with Peking.
Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher has said that it is far better for the international community that China is opening up to responsibilities in world affairs rather than withdrawing. Today the German Foreign Ministry said the new Washington-Peking move was "an important step" and a "positive factor" in global politics.
German specialists on Asia do not believe the move will harm Western Europe's general policy of detente toward Moscow. Most believe that if the Soviets-who apparently were kept informed privately by Washington-saw the U.S. move as an assault on detente that it would have been reflected by now in Soviet reluctance to move ahead with the strategic arms limitation talks.
Similarly, they do not believe breaking diplomatic ties with Taiwan will cause the United States to be viewed as an unreliable partner in Europe.
Ten years ago, specialists say, the United States would have suffered. But the way in which China has been conducting its foreign policy in recent years has made even right-wingers in Europe pro-Peking. Besides, the general impression here is that the United States will not let Taiwan go down the drain.
In the private sector, the move will also be greeted with enthusiasm. Bonn, behind only Tokyo and Hong Kong, is China's third largest trading partner and West German firms have recently signed multibillion-dollar coal and steel development contracts with China. Estimates are that about $23 billion worth of business will be done by West German industry in China in the next few years.