Martin Thummel, deputy head of the Department of Asia-Pacific Region, makes a speech at the first Berlin Taiwan Conference, titled “Taiwan: Opportunities and Challenges in Times of Geopolitical Change.” Photo: CNA

By Lu Yi-hsuan and Jake Chung / Staff reporter, with staff writer

Germany would redouble efforts to contest China's sovereignty claims over the Taiwan Strait and continue to assert its position that the passage is part of international waters, an official from the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in Berlin on Tuesday.

Martin Thummel, deputy head of the Department of Asia-Pacific Region, made the remarks at the first Berlin Taiwan Conference, titled “Taiwan: Opportunities and Challenges in Times of Geopolitical Change.”

Beijing's actions over the past few years have not only caused cross-strait relations to plummet, but have also led to a freeze on bilateral dialogue, creating a dangerous situation that is regrettable, Thummel said.

Beijing's continued ploys to isolate Taiwan from the international community are also not helping matters, Thummel added.

Thummel voiced support for the German government's backing of Taiwan, including mentioning Taiwan for the first time in its Indo-Pacific policy guidelines, stating that any change to Taiwan's status must be peaceful or by mutual consent and that Germany supports bilateral interactions in Taiwan's

Germany is expanding its relations with Taiwan under its “one China” policy, but Taiwan is far more than just an economic and cultural partner, Thummel said, adding that Taiwan shares Germany's democratic values.

He praised Taiwan's high standards for Mandarin education and expressed hope that academic and private exchanges would continue to grow between Taiwan and Germany.

He added that two-way travel between the countries has been increasing since Taiwan opened its borders in October.

Beijing has made many attempts to misinterpret international laws regarding Taiwan, such as imposing its selective interpretation of UN Resolution No. 2758, “which, in essence, only deals with the issue of the representation of China [in the UN],” Thummel said .

“We will offer clearer and more concise rebuttals” against such claims, he said.

Germany has no intention of changing the principle that its top seven ranking officials, including the president, parliamentary president and the chancellor, would have no contact with Taiwanese officials, Thummel said.

However, Berlin does not bar ministerial-level meetings and interactions, Thummel said.

“In fact, we have not been fully utilizing such opportunities,” he said.

News source: TAIPEI TIMES

The German frigate Bayern leaves the port of Wilhelmshaven in northern Germany on Aug. 2 last year as it embarks on a voyage to the Indo-Pacific region. Photo: AFP