German official rejects idea of establishing ties with Taiwan - Focus Taiwan

German official rejects idea of establishing ties with Taiwan

Berlin, Dec. 9 (CNA) A German official has rejected a petition to set up diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan) because of its one-China policy but said the country plans to expand its ties with Taiwan.

Speaking Monday at a German parliament hearing, Petra Sigmund, the director general for Asia and the Pacific under Germany's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Germany and China established diplomatic relations in 1972 and the country recognizes the People's Republic of China (PRC) as the only legitimate representative of China.

Under the one-China policy, Germany excludes the possibility of forging diplomatic ties with Taiwan, Sigmund said, and that similar to its European Union (EU) partners, Germany adheres to the policy and has no intention to make a change.

Sigmund was responding to a petition initiated by a man identified as Michael Kreuzberg asking Germany to formally recognize Taiwan. The petition reached the threshold of 50,000 signatures in October that required the German government to formally discuss it.

The parliament's petitions committee on Monday held a public hearing, with foreign ministry officials in attendance. It will next decide whether to forward the petition for discussion at a parliamentary session.

Though Sigmund rejected the idea of formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, she said Taiwan and Germany share values such as democracy and freedom and Taiwan is Germany's "partner of values."

Germany cherishes frequent exchanges with Taiwan in the economic, cultural and academic spheres and plans to expand ties with Taiwan, Sigmund said, without elaborating.

Kreuzberg said at the beginning of the hearing that the petition was launched to forestall autocratic China's annexation of democratic Taiwan and that ensuring Taiwan's safety is the moral responsibility and obligation of Western countries.

Undaunted by the German government's position, Kreuzberg said his next step would be to bring a similar petition to the European Parliament because if other EU countries agree to establish diplomatic ties with Taiwan, Germany will perhaps follow suit.

(By Lin Yu-li and Evelyn Kao)

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