German minister to visit Taiwan in first such visit in 26 years

Berlin, Mar 17 (EFE).- Taiwan is set to host the first visit from a German cabinet member in 26 years next week after Germany’s education ministry announced the trip on Friday.

Bettina Stark-Watzinger, federal minister of education and research, is expected to arrive in Taipei on Tuesday for a two-day trip, a ministry spokesperson confirmed on Friday.

The objective of the trip is to “bolster and expand cooperation with Taiwan on science, research and education,” the spokesperson added.

The official said that the issue of Taiwan’s sovereignty was not on the agenda after several journalists probed him on the subject.

Stark-Watzinger’s visit to Taiwan will be the first by a German federal minister since former economy minister Günter Rexrodt, also of the Free Democratic Party, traveled to the island in 1997.

The scheduled trip comes after a Bundestag delegation visited Taiwan in the autumn which sparked China’s anger with Beijing’s foreign ministry, which called on the German lawmakers to “immediately cease their interaction with the separatist pro-independence forces in Taiwan.”

A trip to Taiwan by then-US house speaker Nancy Pelosi in August 2022 also infuriated China and spiked tensions between Washington and Beijing.

In response to Pelosi’s trip, China imposed sanctions on the politician, suspended dialog with the US on several critical areas, and carried out military drills in the Taiwan Strait.

China considers Taiwan a broke-away province since the Kuomintang nationalists withdrew there in 1949 after losing the civil war against the communists. EFE


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