Taiwan wants Germany's Scholz to send clear message to China on visit

Representative of Taiwan in Germany Jhy-Wey Shieh speaks during an interview with the dpa German Press Agency. Michael Kappeler/dpa
Representative of Taiwan in Germany Jhy-Wey Shieh speaks during an interview with the dpa German Press Agency. Michael Kappeler/dpa
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Taiwan expects German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to issue a clear warning to Beijing against the use of military force against the self-governing island, on an upcoming visit to China.

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

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

"Perhaps 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 is travelling 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 as well as 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 to be part of its territory and denies any form of official diplomatic contact between Taiwan and other countries.

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

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

As 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, like the US, Great Britain and France. In May, another Bundeswehr frigate and a supply ship are to set off for the Pacific to underpin Germany's interest in the region with its important trade routes.

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

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