Berlin, June 14 (CNA) The culture ministers of Taiwan and Germany met officially for the first time Tuesday in Berlin, which Taiwan Culture Minister Lee Yung-te (李永得) lauded as a milestone for cultural exchanges between the two sides.
Lee, who is visiting Europe for the first time since taking office in May 2020, met with Claudia Roth at the Bundestag, the German Federal Parliament, and they discussed cultural exchanges and human rights and transitional justice issues, the Ministry of Culture (MOC) said in a statement.
Roth, the German federal government commissioner for culture and the media, praised Taiwan during their meeting as “standing courageously in the frontline against the Chinese authoritarian regime,” and said all democratic partners should stand with Taiwan, the MOC said.
The German official also noted that during previous Cologne Pride parades, one of the largest gay and lesbian events in Europe, millions of participants applauded Taiwan after it became the first place in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage in May 2019, the statement said.
Lee responded that Taiwan is safeguarding freedom and democratic values despite facing threats from an authoritarian country, and is hoping to have closer links with democratic countries around the globe.
They also talked about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and expressed their highest respect for Ukraine’s people in defending their freedom, democracy, and sovereignty, the statement said.
“Both of us believe that amid the pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war, democratic countries should be more united,” Lee told a CNA reporter in Berlin after the meeting, and said the two sides had agreed to build closer ties on transitional justice, performance arts, and movies.
“Today’s meeting was an important milestone in Taiwan-Germany cultural exchanges,” he said.
The Ministry of Culture described it as the first time the culture ministers of the two sides had met.
Lee began his eight-day tour in Europe on Monday in Berlin with a visit to the Humboldt Forum, a museum of non-European art on the Museum Island in the historic center of the capital city.
He met with Daniela Kluckert, parliamentary state secretary in the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, and Federal Commissioner for the Victims of the SED Dictatorship Evelyn Zupke on Monday.
He also officially appointed Dieter Jaenicke, a seasoned curator, festival manager and artistic director, as the MOC’s international affairs consultant the same day.
Lee will head next to the Czech Republic and was scheduled to meet with that country’s Senate leader Miloš Vystrčil later Wednesday.
He will then visit Paris to present the Taiwan-France Cultural Award before heading back to Taiwan on June 21.
(By Lin Yu-li and Joseph Yeh)
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