German Minister Makes First Official Visit to Taiwan in Decades

Germany plans to send a federal minister to Taiwan next week for talks on research cooperation, officials said on Friday.

Education Minister Bettina Stark Watzinger will meet with Taiwanese officials during a two-day trip to Taiwan to discuss expanding cooperation in chip research, green hydrogen and batteries, according to a Ministry of Education and Research spokesperson. is.

Government spokesman Steffen Hevestrit clarified that the minister’s visit to Taiwan had nothing to do with the island’s sovereignty and that Germany maintained its stance on the “one China” policy.

“We are also in regular and close contact with China and its leaders,” he told reporters. “The Minister of Education and Research’s visit to Taiwan does not cast any doubt on our position.”

It remains unclear if Stark-Watzinger will meet Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen during his visit next week.

Mr. Stark-Watzinger’s upcoming visit will be the first visit to Taiwan by a senior German official of the same rank since then-Economy Minister Günther Rexrodt’s visit to the autonomous island in 1997.

TSMC’s global expansion plan

Her visit saw Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world’s largest contract semiconductor manufacturer, looking to open its first factory in Europe and its second in Japan on Jan. 12. was done when said.

“In Europe, based on customer demand and government support levels, we are evaluating the feasibility of building a specialist factory focused on automotive-specific technologies,” said CC Wei, CEO of TSMC. in collaboration with customers and partners.

TSMC is said to be in “pre-discussions” with suppliers last year about setting up a factory in Dresden, Germany, focused on manufacturing 22-nanometer and 28-nanometer chip technology.

Previous German delegation visit

On January 9, Germany sent a delegation led by Marie-Agnes Struck-Zimmermann, Chairman of the National Defense Commission, to Taiwan to meet with President Tsai and other defense officials to discuss the stability of the Taiwan Strait.

Epoch Times photo
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen greets German Member of Parliament Johannes Vogel at the Presidential Office Building in Taipei on January 10, 2023. (Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images)

The day before their arrival, the Chinese military conducted combat exercises around the island involving 57 aircraft and four naval vessels.

Taiwan scrambled its aircraft, naval vessels and land-based missile systems after detecting that 28 Chinese fighter jets had entered its air defense identification zone.

Beijing said the purpose of the combat training was to counter “provocative actions” by Taiwan and outside forces.

Taiwan rejected Beijing’s allegations, saying it was the People’s Liberation Army’s “irrational provocations” that had seriously destabilized security in the region.

In a statement, Taiwan’s defense ministry said it was “not seeking escalation or conflict.” statement.[Taiwan’s] Troops are constantly monitoring the surrounding area and responding to activity accordingly. ”

Although Taiwan has maintained an autonomous democracy since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) considers Taiwan to be its own territory. Taiwan sees itself as a secession territory that must take the necessary steps to integrate with mainland China.

Last year, the Chinese military conducted large-scale military exercises around Taiwan in retaliation for then-Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island.

Former head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and former Danish Prime Minister Anders Vog Rasmussen said Europe and NATO countries were “too naive” before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and risked repeating China’s mistakes. said it was affecting

He believes Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping will watch the war in Ukraine closely before deciding to attack Taiwan.

“Until now, the world has not paid enough attention to tensions in the Taiwan Strait.

“We need to recognize that the China-Taiwan conflict has had and will continue to have global implications. We are very interested,” Rasmussen added.

Bryan Jung and Associated Press contributed to this report.