China bars Taiwan premier from visiting Germany

9th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

9 May 2005, TAIPEI - Taiwan on Sunday blasted China for barring Taiwanese Premier Frank Hsieh from visiting Germany and Austria at the invitation of Siemens AG.

9 May 2005

TAIPEI - Taiwan on Sunday blasted China for barring Taiwanese Premier Frank Hsieh from visiting Germany and Austria at the invitation of Siemens AG.

"China has told Germany and Austria not to issue visas to Premier Hsieh. This proves that China's recent promises to improve ties with Taiwan are lip service," government spokesman Cho Jung-tai told the Central News Agency (CNA).

"Siemens Austria is still trying to persuade Germany and Austria to approve Hsieh's visit. We hope China can show its goodwill toward Taiwan through action by not interfering in Premier Hsieh's visit," he said.

Siemens Austria issued the invitation to Hsieh to visit Siemens Austria and Siemens headquarters in Germany while Hsieh was the mayor of Kaohsiung, the port city in South Taiwan. He became premier in January this year.

Siemens is the main contractor in the rapid transit and light rail systems in Kaohsiung, which are still under construction.

Hsieh hoped that his visit to Germany and Austria could help improve Taiwan's ties with both countries, "and we have anticipated China's opposition," said Cho.

Both Germany and Austria have diplomatic ties with China and regard Taiwan as a Chinese province. China bars its diplomatic allies from making formal contact with the Taiwan government or Taiwan officials.

Last week Chinese President Hu Jintao made goodwill gestures to Taiwan when he received Taiwan opposition leader Lien Chan in Beijing.

Hu offered to give two giants pandas to Taiwan, increase imports of Taiwan fruits, allow mainland tourists to visit Taiwan and help Taiwan become an observer in the World Health Organisation (WHO) during the 58th World Health Assembly (WHA) opening in Geneva on 16 May.

But Taiwan doubts China's sincerity because China has barred Taiwan reporters from covering the World Health Assembly (WHA).

WHO said since it is a UN-affiliated organisation, it could only issue accreditation to journalists holding passports deemed valid by the UN.

As a result, Taiwan reporters cannot receive accreditation because the UN regards Taiwan as a Chinese province. Only a few Taiwan reporters who also hold foreign passports have received media accreditations to cover the WHA.

DPA

Subject: German news

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