First German minister to visit Taiwan in 26 years

Saturday, Mar 18, 2023

BERLIN: German Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger will travel to Taiwan next week, Berlin said on Friday, as the first cabinet member to visit in 26 years in a move set to spark tensions with China.

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