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US diplomat urges Merkel to take 'firm stance' in China

BERLIN (AP) — The U.S. ambassador to Germany says "now is not the time for business as usual with China" as Chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to make her 12th visit to the country as German leader. Merkel is due to visit Chinese leaders in Beijing on Friday. She will travel with a business delegation.

In comments to The Associated Press Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell said China's "willful disregard of its commitments" to Hong Kong, the U.N. and World Trade Organization, along with human rights violations in Tibet and Xinjiang, show China's communist party "stands against the values Germany cherishes."

He says: "We hope that Chancellor Merkel will take a firm stance for the values that unified Germany after the fall of Communism: human rights, democracy, and the rule of law."

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