Germany plans to expand ties with Taiwan despite ruling out diplomatic recognition

German federal parliament discussed whether to formalize relations with Taiwan in Dec. 9 hearing

Hearing held at German Bundestag on Dec. 9.

Hearing held at German Bundestag on Dec. 9. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Germany has no plans to establish diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but it is mulling ways to expand ties with the island nation, said a German foreign ministry official at a public hearing at Germany’s federal parliament on Monday (Dec. 9).

Petra Sigmund, director-general for Asia and the Pacific, said Germany has adhered to the “one China” policy since it forged formal relations with China in 1972. The policy, which has also been adopted by most of the world, including the European Union, rules out the possibility of establishing ties with Taiwan, and the German government has no intention to reverse course, she said.

Sigmund referred to Taiwan as a “partner” for Germany based on such shared values as democracy and freedom. She added that Germany is planning to expand its relations with Taiwan, as it values the multiple exchanges it has had with the island in the areas of trade, culture, and academics.

The hearing at the Bundestag was brought about by a petition requesting that the German government recognize Taiwan as an independent state and formalize the relations between the two countries. It was participated in by German foreign ministry officials and parliamentarians, reported CNA. Taiwan’s representative to Germany Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) also attended the event.

Michael Kreuzberg, the German citizen who launched the petition that collected more than 50,000 signatures within one month, said at the hearing he had undertaken the initiative out of concern that democratic Taiwan would be annexed to China’s authoritarian regime. He urged Germany to recognize Taiwan as an independent state, contending that it was the moral responsibility of western countries to ensure Taiwan’s security.

Fuh Pey-fen (傅佩芬), a Frankfurt-based Taiwanese lawyer who represented the petitioners, described Germany’s approach toward China as being “obsolete.” Its policy has not stimulated China’s democratization, she noted, calling on the German authorities to regard Taiwan as an innovative and strategic partner that shares democratic values.

Kreuzberg later told CNA that he had known the petition would not drive Germany to change its policy, but he noted that the Taiwan issue has drawn unprecedented levels of attention in German society lately, partly due to the petition and also because of China’s tightening grip on Hong Kong and Xinjiang. He added that he plans to make the same case to the EU.