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Taiwan ambassador calls on Germany for visit and military cooperation

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Sarah Marsh and Alexander Ratz

Berlin — Taiwan's de facto ambassador to Berlin says Germany has begun to shift toward a tougher stance on China. He praised what he said and urged the government to further strengthen relations with Taipei.

Her Shieh Jhy-Wey, who was posted to Berlin in 2016, told Reuters that Germany and its strategic partners will invite Taiwan to join them in their next operation in the Indo-Pacific. or hope to arrange more bilateral visits.

She "senses the German government's willingness to improve its response to Taiwan. Some things have already happened," Shi said in an interview Wednesday. "And as the Chinese become less shy about attacking Taiwan, I hope there will be a corresponding reaction against China."

Critics has accused Germany of being soft on Beijing for years on issues such as human rights abuses and its attitude toward China's claimed sovereignty, Taiwan.

But the government, led by Chancellor Olaf Scholz, has vowed to be tougher, mentioning Taiwan for the first time in a coalition agreement. It states that changes to the status quo in the Taiwan Strait should only be made by peaceful and mutual agreement.

The issue has intensified in recent weeks as China conducted large-scale military exercises in the waters surrounding Taiwan following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to the island. .

Over the past year, Germany has joined other Western powers in expanding its military presence in the Indo-Pacific amid growing alarm over Beijing's territorial ambitions. This week, 13 of her military planes were deployed for joint exercises in Australia.

Shieh also said Taiwan should be more closely integrated with international organizations such as the United Nations, World Health Organization and Interpol.

He said he no longer heard the "Wandel durch Handel", the guiding principle of Germany's China policy, mentioned in Berlin.

German interest in the region appears to be shifting to geopolitics, he said. The government has warned of economic decoupling from China, but critics question how tough China could be, given its economic dependence on a rising Asian superpower.

New avenues are also opening up at the European level, Mr. Shi said, citing European Parliament Vice-President Nicola Biel's visit to Taiwan in July.

Mr Shieh said he welcomed the visit of the Speaker of the German Bundestag, but that it would "demand too much". , denied visits by state officials.

A group of lawmakers on the Congressional Human Rights Commission are planning a trip to Taiwan in October, the commission's chairman, Renata Alt, told Reuters last week.

"This visit should send a signal in support of Taiwan's independence and Taiwan's democracy," she said. (Reporting by Sarah Marsh and Alexander Ratz; additional reporting by Ben Blanchard; editing by Catherine Evans)