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First German minister to visit Taiwan in 26 years

Tan KW
Publish date: Sun, 19 Mar 2023, 08:27 AM
Tan KW
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Taiwan: Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger will travel to Taiwan next week, Berlin said Friday, as the first Cabinet member to visit in 26 years.

A ministry spokesman told reporters Stark-Watzinger would make a two-day visit to the democratic island state which China sees as part of its own territory.

“The aim of the visit is to bolster and expand cooperation with Taiwan on science, research and education,” he said, noting Taiwan’s strengths on high-tech manufacturing.

The trip comes two months after a high-ranking German parliamentary delegation travelled to the self-ruled island in a move strongly criticised by Beijing.

China’s Communist Party regards Taiwan as belonging to Beijing and has vowed to one day take the island.

The deputies on the Taiwan visit in January came from the pro-business Free Democratic Party - a junior partner in Germany’s coalition government to which Stark-Watzinger also belongs.

The MPs had described their stay as a “sign of solidarity” with the democracy.

A German foreign ministry spokesman stressed on Friday that Berlin maintains its “One China” policy while maintaining “close and good ties with Taiwan”.

“Taiwan is a democracy and an important trade and investment partner for Germany,” he said.

 - AFP

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