German Minister to Visit Taiwan, First in 26 Years


German Minister to Visit Taiwan, First in 26 Years. PHOTO/Reuters

BERLIN – German Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger will travel to Taiwan next week, Berlin said on Friday (17/3/2023). He will be the first cabinet member to visit in 26 years, a move that will stoke tensions with China.

“The minister will pay a two-day visit to Taiwan,” a spokesman for the German Education Ministry told reporters, as quoted by AFP.

“The purpose of this visit is to strengthen and expand cooperation with Taiwan in science, research and education,” he said, recalling the Asian country’s strength in high-tech manufacturing.

The visit comes two months after a high-ranking German parliamentary delegation traveled to the self-governing island in a move sharply criticized by Beijing.

The Chinese Communist Party regards democratic Taiwan as its own territory and vows to one day seize the island.

Under President Xi Jinping, Beijing has stepped up military, economic and diplomatic pressure on Taiwan as its current elected government regards the island as an already sovereign nation and not part of “One China”.

The deputies on a visit to Taiwan in January were from the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) – the junior partner in Germany’s coalition government that Stark-Watzinger also owns.

The lawmakers described their stay as a “sign of solidarity” with the democracy that China claims as part of its territory. China routinely opposes official exchanges with Taiwan, and has reacted with growing anger to visits by Western politicians.

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