A second parliamentary delegation is in Taipei for what Berlin calls part of a commitment to support democratic countries. Beijing has threatened to use force, which it considers China's territory.
A German parliamentary delegation focusing on human rights arrived in Taiwan Sunday in a signal of support for the democratic island republic that China has threatened to invade.
The group, led by Peter Heidt of the neoliberal Free Democrats, was received in Taipei by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ming-Yen Tsai.
It is the second time in a month German politicians have visited the island. Their trip comes after US House of Representatives speaker Nanci Pelosi visited Taiwan in July, sparking military maneuvers from Beijing in response. 
The German group will meet with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Monday and hold talks with the island’s foreign, justice and digital ministers before leaving on Wednesday.
Ahead of the trip, Heidt said in a statement that the visit was part of the German government’s commitment to “support democratic countries,” adding that a major concern was that China was “willing to annex Taiwan, if necessary by force.”
“China’s threatening gestures should not keep us from visiting and supporting Taiwan as a state, that shares our values of democracy and freedom,” Heidt said.
However, the German delegation must tread a delicate path as China is Germany’s largest trading partner and last year the two countries traded goods worth €246 billion ($242 billion).
At the same time, Germany is heavily reliant on semiconductors from Taiwan, the world’s largest advanced chip producer.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s spokesperson Xavier Chang said Sunday that a closer partnership between Taiwan and Germany will further help strengthen global democratic resilience.
He said the delegation could also discuss human rights issues with their Taiwanese counterparts, including the death penalty and how to deal with targeted disinformation campaigns from Beijing.
Capital punishment is still a statute on the books in Taiwan but more than 60% of lawmakers are in favor of its abolition, according to a tally by the London-based Death Penalty Project.
The German lawmakers had also planned a visit to Hong Kong, where Beijing has clamped down on a pro-democracy movement in recent years. However, the trip was dropped.
The delegation did meet with representatives of non-governmental organizations to discuss the loss of freedom in Hong Kong, among other issues.
Sunday’s visit follows a similar trip by the Berlin-Taipei parliamentary friendship group in the German Bundestag earlier this month.
At the end of the Chinese Communist Party Congress in Beijing on Saturday, delegates voted to include resistance to Taiwan’s independence in the party constitution for the first time. So far, the charter has only called for “reunification” with Taiwan.
On Sunday, Chinese President Xi Jinping was reselected to be party chief, as he prepares to be confirmed to an unprecedented third term earlier next year.
Xi has threatened to reunify the island with the mainland by force, if necessary.
To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video
Several military experts, including Admiral Michael Gilday, chief of US naval operations, have warned that Beijing may launch an invasion as early as this or next year.
Beijing’s claim to power over Taiwan dates back to the founding history of the People’s Republic of China. 
After being defeated by the communists in the civil war, the national Chinese Kuomintang government fled to Taiwan with its troops, while Mao Zedong proclaimed the People’s Republic in Beijing in 1949. 
Taiwan, which today has 23 million inhabitants, has long been independently governed.
mm/ar (AP, dpa)


Shop Sephari