uDespite possible resentment from Beijing, a delegation of members of the Bundestag is on a five-day visit to Taiwan arrived. The group of six MPs from all factions, led by the CDU politician Klaus-Peter Willsch, wants to get an idea of the tense security situation and the economic and political development in the democratic island republic.
The parliamentarians will receive a high-ranking welcome: meetings with President Tsai Ing-wen, Vice-President Lai Ching-te, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and Parliament leader You Si-kun are planned. The visit could lead to new irritations with Beijing of China leadership sees the island only as part of the People’s Republic and rejects official contacts from other countries to Taipei.
China used Pelosi’s visit as a pretext for aggression
Tensions around Taiwan have recently escalated. Beijing had – on the grounds of anger at the visit of the Speakers of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi – carried out large-scale maneuvers. A blockade of the island was practiced. America’s No. 3 was the highest-ranking visitor from Washington in a quarter-century.
With increased deployments of warships and aircraft in the busy straits of the Taiwan Strait Beijing has maintained military pressure on Taiwan ever since. In such times it is important to demonstrate friendship with Taiwan, said a member of the delegation of the “Freundeskreis Berlin-Taipei”, the Green MP Till Steffen, the Chinese program of Deutsche Welle.
Regular trips by German MPs
According to him, the German policy towards Taiwan and China, which has been pursued for many years, has not changed. It would only be different if MPs hesitated to visit Taiwan now. At a time when China is threatening Taiwan, not traveling would send a “negative signal” to Taiwan, Steffen said. China should “not interfere” in this cooperation.
Before the outbreak of the corona pandemic, there had been regular visits by members of the Bundestag to Taiwan. Among them were acting secretaries of state.
Important trading partner
Taiwan also wants to expand cooperation. For this purpose, a parliamentary association for friendship with Germany was founded shortly before the visit. Exchanges of goods between the two sides exceeded US$20 billion last year. Taiwan ranks fifth among Germany’s trading partners in Asia, while the country trades as much with no other EU member as it does with Germany.
According to the German representative, Germany wants to Taipei, Jörg Polster, strengthen cooperation between governments and parliaments in addition to economic exchange. In his words, Germany also supports Taiwan’s participation in international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Participation fails, however, due to resistance from Beijing, which is trying to isolate Taipei internationally. With its “One China Doctrine,” China does not allow its diplomatic partners to maintain relations with Taiwan at the same time. Out of consideration for Beijing, Germany only has an unofficial representation in Taipei.
Again and again visitors from Europe
This is the second parliamentary delegation from a major EU member to visit Taiwan in recent times, following a visit by French MPs in early September. In July, the FDP politician Nicola Beer traveled to Taiwan with a delegation as Vice President of the European Parliament. The Human Rights Committee of the Bundestag is also planning a visit at the end of October.
An annoyance from Taiwan’s point of view is a de facto entry ban on its democratically elected highest officials in Germany. while about Foreign Minister Wu and Speaker of Parliament You were able to visit several other EU countries this year and lastthat would not be possible in Germany.