US Speaker of the House Pelosi's visit to Taiwan worsens the tense relationship between China and the US. German MPs are also planning a trip to the island state - but for a long time. They don't want to be deterred by a "dragon spewing threats," says one of them.
The Human Rights Committee of the Bundestag is planning a trip to Taiwan for the end of October. It should be applied for at the beginning of September at the latest at the parliamentary presidency. However, the trip is not a reaction to the controversial visit by US MP Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, but had been planned for some time. It is scheduled to take place between October 22nd and 30th and will go to Japan and Hong Kong in addition to Taiwan. MEPs from all six parliamentary groups are expected to take part in the trip, probably two each from the two largest groups SPD and CDU/CSU. The delegation would thus include a total of eight parliamentarians
Possible protests by China against the trip are no reason for the CDU politician Michael Brand to refrain from doing so. "The Chinese leadership must ensure that it doesn't just become a threat-spewing dragon on the international stage. A little more Asian discipline would be appropriate," said the human rights expert, who plans to travel to Taiwan with them. Despite all the threatening gestures, the democracies of this world will not be left in the lurch - on the contrary: "If we take ourselves seriously, then we must finally take China seriously and reject the threat."
Among others, the FDP politician Peter Heidt and the Green MP Boris Mijatovic are to travel from the coalition. Mijatovic points out that Taiwan is also an important trading partner for Germany, especially when it comes to semiconductor technology. That's why such a trip by parliamentarians is "normal," he said. China regards democratic Taiwan as part of its national territory and therefore strictly rejects official contacts from other countries to Taipei. Pelosi's visit had escalated tensions with China this week. The People's Liberation Army of China announced target practice maneuvers around the island and near the coast by Sunday, designating six restricted areas.
There have also been trips by members of the Bundestag to Taiwan in the past. The Human Rights Committee last planned a visit in 2020, which was canceled due to Corona. As an alternative, the committee received Taiwan's representative in Germany, Jhy-Wey Shieh, in the Bundestag for a discussion event.
On Thursday, Shieh spoke out in favor of a trip to his country by a Bundestag delegation led by Parliament President Bärbel Bas. "The inhibitions about traveling to Taiwan must fall," he told the "Tagesspiegel". However, the Bundestag administration has already made it clear that the SPD politician Bas has no travel plans. According to her, the seven "sovereignty-relevant offices" have an agreement not to have personal contact with their respective counterparts in Taiwan. This refers to the Federal President and the heads of the four other constitutional bodies (Bundestag, Bundesrat, Federal Government, Federal Constitutional Court) as well as the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense.
Incidentally, Pelosi's visit was not the first trip by parliamentarians to Taiwan that caused a stir. Two years ago, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi responded with threats to a trip by Czech parliamentarian Milos Vystrcil. Vystrcil will have to pay a "high price" for his "short-sighted behavior," he said. The Chinese ambassador to Germany, Wu Ken, said in an interview at the time how he would react to a trip by German parliamentarians to Taipei: "We reject any official contact with Taiwan." The CDU politician Brand believes that one should not be intimidated by such threats. Otherwise, as a Member of Parliament, you would no longer be allowed to give interviews. "China is now protesting even against this." The attitude in almost all countries outside of China is the same: "Journeys by parliamentarians are not a threat to anyone, but on the contrary very helpful, because they serve to improve mutual understanding and thus peace and understanding."