Taiwan: Visit by a German minister for the first time in 26 years

Taiwan: Visit by a German minister for the first time in 26 years

Suitable for celebrating with a white stone. A ministry spokesperson announced that Bettina Stark-Witzinger, Germany’s Minister of Education and Research, will visit Taiwan next week, the first in 26 years for a member of the German government.

The aim of this two-day trip is to “strengthen and expand cooperation with Taiwan in the fields of science, research and education,” Martin Kleinmass added during a regular press conference, referring to a “technical visit” to a “global leader” in the development and production of semiconductors. Green hydrogen industrial as well as research on batteries are at the center of the visit of the minister, a member of the liberal FDP party, according to his spokesperson.

Berlin and Taipei have “close and good relations in many fields, especially in the economy, culture and education,” added the spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, which considers Taiwan an “important trade and investment partner of Germany.” “In this regard, the regular exchanges and mutual visits of responsible ministers are quite normal,” he said.

Sudden deterioration in relations between Beijing and Taiwan

A delegation of liberal German parliamentarians had already visited the island on January 9, drawing criticism from Beijing, which opposes visits by foreign parliamentarians, which it considers interference in its internal affairs. Relations between Beijing and Taipei, already strained, deteriorated sharply in 2022, as Beijing doubled down on its military maneuvers around the island it considers part of its territory to be reclaimed one day, by force if necessary.

The most important of them was carried out in retaliation for visiting the island by Nancy Pelosi, then the Democratic Speaker of the US House of Representatives. China opposes any official exchange between foreign countries and Taiwan. In August, the German Army strengthened its presence in the Pacific with the deployment of 13 military aircraft, a year after it sent a frigate to the region for the first time in nearly twenty years.

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