Germany plans highest-level Taiwan visit in decades — RT World News
The federal minister is said to try to avoid meetings with high-ranking officials so as not to irritate Beijing
The German Education Minister has announced plans to visit Taiwan in the coming days, the first trip to the island by a senior federal official in 26 years. While China will likely condemn the visit, Berlin says it does not signal any major policy shift against the People’s Republic of China.
Education and Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger will travel to Taipei next week for a two-day visit, her ministry spokeswoman said. speak on Friday, note that the trip will focus on cooperation on computer chips and green technology.
Although Taiwan suggested that Stark-Watzinger meet with Foreign Minister Joseph Wu during her stay on the island, Berlin “push back” upon request and will only agree to sit down with lower-ranking officials, Financial Times report, citing many people familiar with the negotiations. Another source reached by Reuters speak that the minister will also not meet President Tsai Ing-wen “at the behest of the German government,” that’s looking for a way “avoid provoking China too much.”
Germany’s One China Policy stipulates that any delegation sent to Taiwan is limited to full-time ministers whose duties are not related to sovereignty issues, prohibiting visits by the prime minister , as well as ministers of the interior, foreign affairs or defense. The last trip of any German federal minister took place in 1997, although lawmakers have visited the island several times since, up to and including this year.
Although Taiwan has been de facto self-governing since the losers of the Chinese Civil War fled to the island and established its own government in 1949, China considers the island part of its territory. sovereignty and generally frown upon any official contact between Taipei and foreign officials.
Prime Minister Olaf Scholz’s top spokesman, Steffen Hebestreit, stressed that the upcoming visit does not indicate any change in relations with Beijing.
“The fact that the minister of education and research is visiting Taiwan does not question our policies in any way,” he said. he told reporters.
Stark-Watzinger’s trip comes just weeks before German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is scheduled to visit Beijing, with multiple sources telling the FT she will be there in April or May. However, an unnamed German diplomat questioned the wisdom of scheduling two trips so close together.
“On the one hand, we are sending [Baerbock to Beijing]… and on the other hand, a minister came to Taiwan first – what message are we sending them?” they said.
While Germany and China are major trading partners, there are signs of growing tensions between the two nations. Berlin is currently drafting a new National Security Strategy, which is expected to treat the People’s Republic of China as a “system opponents,” according to Bloomberg, while Scholz recently warned that Beijing will face “consequence” if it supplies weapons to Russia during the conflict in Ukraine.
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