German Parliament Delegation Seeking Closer Ties with Taiwan | Taiwan News

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The delegation of the German-Taiwanese Parliamentary Friendship Group expressed hope for closer cooperation between the two countries at a press conference of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Thursday, October 6. .


Klaus-Peter Willsch, Head of Delegation and Chairman of the Taiwan Friendship Group, said the group had very fruitful talks with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) , Speaker of the Legislative Assembly You Hsi-kun (游錫堃), Taiwanese scholars and think tanks on different issues and discussed possible areas of future cooperation.


Willsch said both countries are democracies that uphold the rule of law. The meeting with Taiwanese partners is very important since Taiwan and Germany share common values, including freedom, he added.


The parliamentarian said COVID-19 had prevented parliamentary delegations from coming to Taiwan, but now that it has subsided, visits will resume at pre-pandemic levels, he said.


Taiwan Friendship Group Vice President Katrin Budde said the delegation had a “very open” dialogue with Taiwanese officials and scholars throughout their visit. “There were no prohibited subjects,” Budde said.


She said the two countries will deepen cooperation in the field of culture, especially between museums, as well as strengthen exchanges regarding transitional justice.


Taiwan Friendship Group vice president Frank Schaffler said the parliamentary committee on human rights and humanitarian aid will visit Taiwan soon and another group is expected to visit next year. He hailed Taiwan as Germany’s important trading partner and said a free trade agreement was needed to bring the two countries closer together.


Dr. Till Steffen, also vice president of the Taiwan Friendship Group, told Taiwan News that the delegation learned a lot about common concerns such as housing, energy supply and science. Steffen hailed Taiwan’s “living democracy”, which he said has thrived on its free market and prosperous economy.


He identified energy supplies as “very crucial” for Taiwan and said Germany “had to learn the hard way” how dependent it was on other countries for its energy needs. Steffen said energy can easily be weaponized.


The lawmaker also said that the two countries “have ambitious goals to tackle (the) climate crisis, which is really a serious threat to (the) future”. “We look forward to your experiences because Taiwan is very innovative. And we can learn a lot from (Taiwan) because there are a lot of problems to be solved this way,” he added.


Steffen mentioned that he is in both the Taiwan and Ukraine friendship groups in the German parliament because “these are important relations”. Although he acknowledges that the war in Ukraine is different from the situation in Taiwan, “there are a lot of lessons to be learned”, he said.


The most important takeaway is that “democracies need to support each other,” he said, pointing out that authoritarian regimes already do this, like Beijing and Moscow.


Thus, we must have as close ties as possible between democratic nations, Steffen said. “Our visit should be a small contribution to that.”


The delegation is due to leave Taiwan later Thursday. In addition to meeting with senior Taiwanese government officials, the group also visited Tainan Science Park, located in the Southern Taiwan Science Park, to strengthen bilateral exchanges in high-tech industry, health security supply chain and trade, MOFA said.

James R. Rhodes