First German parliamentary group since COVID-19 arrives in Taiwan
Taoyuan, Oct. 2 (CNA) The first parliamentary delegation from Germany to visit Taiwan since the COVID-19 pandemic began in late 2019 arrived in the country Sunday morning, with one of the delegation members saying the trip was meant to "show support to Taiwan."
The delegation headed by German-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group Chairman Klaus-Peter Willsch arrived at the Taoyuan International Airport around 7 a.m. to the welcome of Taiwanese Vice Foreign Minister Alexander Yui (余大㵢).
Willsch and three deputies of the group, Katrin Budde, Till Steffen, and Rainer Kraft, as well as Taiwan's representative to Germany, Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) stopped briefly to take photographs before leaving the airport without making public comments to the awaiting press.
In addition to them, the rest of the seven-member parliamentary delegation are scheduled to arrive in Taiwan later Sunday or Monday, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).
Before heading to Taiwan, Willsch told Germany's regional public service broadcaster, ARD, that a peaceful visit to a fellow democratic country has never been a problem, when asked to comment on United States House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi's trip to Taiwan in early August.
He said the problem was an overly nervous authoritarian state that overreacts to such visits with missile firing and military coercion, referring to Beijing's launching of an unprecedented set of live-fire military drills in six maritime zones encircling Taiwan from Aug. 4-7, after Pelosi's whirlwind 19-hour visit from Aug. 2-3.
Delegation member Budde said during the same ARD interview that it was compulsory for fellow democratic countries to show support toward Taiwan when the democracy is facing China's military threat.
According to Shieh, the delegates include five deputy chairs of the parliamentary friendship group which consists of parliamentarians from six different political parties, making the visiting delegation the first official one from the German parliament to visit Taiwan since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak struck in late 2019.
"The cross-parties delegation is meant to show their unified support toward Taiwan because Taiwan is a beacon of freedom and democracy," Shieh said in a Facebook post on Saturday.
Shieh also disclosed that another parliamentarian group from Germany will be visiting Taiwan three weeks later.
During their five-day visit, the delegation members will meet with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德), and other senior government officials, according to MOFA.
They will also visit the Legislative Yuan and meet with lawmakers of the Taiwan and Germany Parliamentary Friendship Association, and hold meetings with local security think tanks.
The delegation is also set to visit the Tainan Science Park to enhance two-way exchanges in trade and investment, high-tech industry, and supply-chain security, MOFA added.
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