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Taiwan wants Germany’s Scholz to send a clear message to China during his visit

Taiwan expects German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to issue a clear warning to Beijing against the use of military force against the self-governing island during an upcoming visit to China.

In an interview with dpa, Taiwan’s representative to Germany, Shieh Jhy-Wey, who serves as de facto ambassador for the island, said Scholz had already found clear words on the issue during his last visit to China in November 2022.

However, threats against Taiwan have increased since then, Shieh said.

“Maybe the Chinese didn’t really get the message back then,” Shieh said. It would therefore “not be a bad thing if Mr. Scholz were to say this again in plain language.”

Scholz travels to China for three days on Saturday. He will meet President Xi Jinping and other representatives of the Chinese government. He will be accompanied by three ministers and a business delegation.

Taiwan has had an independent government since 1949, but the communist People’s Republic of China considers the democratic island with its 23 million inhabitants part of its territory and denies any form of official diplomatic contact between Taiwan and other countries.

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Since the Russian attack on Ukraine, fears are growing that China could annex Taiwan. Chinese leaders have repeatedly threatened to take the island by force.

Shieh pointed out that an invasion would also very specifically harm the interests of Germany and the EU.

Since the German and European economies are heavily dependent on semiconductors from Taiwan, this could be used by China as an ‘economic and technological weapon’.

Shieh encouraged Scholz to continue on the path of reducing economic dependence on China.

He also wanted Germany to show a military presence in the strait between Taiwan and China, just like the US, Britain and France. Another Bundeswehr frigate and a supply ship will depart for the Pacific in May to strengthen German interest in the region with its important trade routes.

A similar mission had already taken place from August 2021 to February 2022. Although the Bayern frigate participated in maneuvers with alliance partners, it avoided Taiwan. That was “disappointing,” Shieh said. It would be a ‘sign’ for China if things were different for the upcoming mission.

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Shieh also hopes that Germany will cooperate more closely with Taiwan. “Germany has a strategy towards China, but Germany is still allergic to Taiwan,” he said.

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