(Bloomberg) -- Germany’s new Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock highlighted “fundamental differences” with China on human rights in a sign that Berlin will take a more critical line on the issue than Angela Merkel’s government.

Baerbock’s spokesman issued a statement after Germany’s top diplomat held a video call with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Thursday. While it said that “close cooperation with China is important in many areas,” including on tackling climate change, it also referred to the need for “respect for international law and the rules-based international order.”

“The talks therefore also addressed issues where fundamental differences of opinion exist -- including with regard to human rights,” the statement concluded.

Baerbock -- a co-leader of the Greens -- has repeatedly criticized China, and before taking office last month pledged a “return to a more active German foreign policy” which would be guided by “moral principles.”

China responded then with a warning against meddling in its internal affairs, hinting at potential damage to relations unless Germany acknowledges Beijing’s claim on Taiwan under the so-called one China policy.

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