Taiwanese envoy invites German MPs to visit island
Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to Berlin has invited German MPs to visit Taipei, claiming that Germany’s adherence to the “One-China policy” is “outdated.”
In an interview with the Tagesspiegel newspaper, published in the wake of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial visit to Taiwan, Jhy-Wey Shieh proposed that “a Bundestag delegation headed by the Parliament’s president” visit the island.
“That would not come from the parliamentary groups, but from the Bundestag – as an independent legislative body that represents the people and is not under the government,” Taiwan’s representative said. He added that the delegation could meet with the island’s leader Tsai Ing-wen and the parliamentary speaker.
The visit by Nancy Pelosi, the third most senior official in the US government, has infuriated China, which considers Taiwan an integral part of its territory. Beijing has pledged to “take necessary and resolute countermeasures” and is now conducting large-scale military drills in several areas around Taiwan. Shieh said the drills bear “the greatest potential for military conflict” since the Third Taiwan Strait crisis of 1996.
Taipei’s representative also insisted that “the old assumption” that Germany has to stick to the “One-China policy” to prevent China from tampering with the status quo should be revised. In his view, Germany needs “an active China and Taiwan policy that goes beyond that.” Like Washington, Berlin officially considers Taiwan part of China, but maintains unofficial ties with the island.
At the end of last year, the Bundestag passed a resolution calling on the government to review its Taiwan policy in order to deepen exchanges with Taiwan, but ruled out the possibility of establishing diplomatic relations with the island.
On Wednesday, Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock confirmed that the government would continue to adhere to the “One China policy.” Speaking in Canada, the minister stressed that “the status quo in the Taiwan Strait can only be changed peacefully and with the mutual consent of all parties involved.” Commenting on the situation around Pelosi’s visit to Taipei, Baerbock echoed the G7 statement, accusing Beijing of “threatening military gestures.”
The day before, Baerbock warned China against escalating tensions with Taiwan and said Germany would assist Taipei in case of a conflict with Beijing.
Meanwhile, China has warned that those who follow the US example by “playing with fire” will pay the price. At a press briefing on Tuesday, Chinese Ambassador to London Zheng Zeguang said British politicians should refrain from talking about “helping Taiwan defend itself,” or visiting the island. Such actions, he said, “will inevitably lead to severe consequences for China-UK relations.”
Taiwan has been self-governed since 1949, when China’s nationalist government fled to the island following its defeat in the civil war. Beijing has repeatedly warned that the One China principle is a red line.