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Germans back Beijing in Taiwan dispute

4 May 2004

BERLIN – Germany has declared its most explicit support yet for Beijing’s position towards Taipei, rejecting any Taiwanese independence and criticising any moves that increased tension across the Taiwan Strait.

Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and visiting Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao issued a joint statement in Berlin in which they traded support with one another on key policy issues, including Germany’s bid for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.

“The German government opposes the independence of Taiwan,” the statement said. “It opposes all steps directed towards an increase of tensions in the Taiwan Strait.” Analysts said Berlin had been more non-committal on the topic in the past.

Taiwan has been beyond the control of the communist authorities since 1949 and has developed a democratic system. Beijing regards it as a renegade Chinese province. Beijing has stated it would be a grounds for war if Taiwan formally declared independence.

The people of the island are to vote in a referendum in 2006 on a new constitution.

The five-page joint statement, entitled “Partnership in Global Responsibility”, also stressed that human rights were a key issue in the two nations’ relations. Beijing affirmed it would follow the principles of the UN Charter and promote human rights.

The Germans said “noted” that China was “actively preparing” to ratify the International Pact on Civil and Political Rights.

The two nations said the Berlin and Beijing would cooperate in reforming the Security Council, adding: “China welcomes the greater role to be played by Germany in the United Nations.” The two would work jointly “in developing a cooperative world order”.

Wen Jiabao’s four-day official visit to Germany includes witnessing a string of contract signings for major German investments in China. Soon after landing in Munich Sunday, he attended a ceremony to see a deal signed for a major new Volkswagen plant in Shanghai.

Wen Jiabao was accompanies by dozens of ministers, businessmen and diplomats.

DaimlerChrysler signed a contract Monday to follow German rivals VW and BMW into China, setting up a venture with Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Company to manufacture 25,000 C- and E-class Mercedes cars in China per year.

Next up after the talks with Schroeder was a general agreement on German aid in modernizing the outdated heavy-industry centres of northern China as well as a contract with German semiconductor company Infineon to build a new plant near Shanghai.

The trip is Wen Jiabao’s first to Europe since taking office last year. He was to visit Brussels, Dublin and London later this week.

During a visit to a Siemens gas turbine manufacturing plant in Berlin on Monday, he said China would invest heavily in new power generation, raising capacity this year alone by 30 million kilowatts.

German exports to China rose 25 percent in value last year to just short of EUR 20 billion.

Siemens chief executive said he was still hoping to win Berlin’s approval for the export of a redundant plutonium plant to China.

The company saw no reason to withdraw its application despite an announcement from China last week that it has dropped plans to buy the plant at Hanau near Frankfurt.


Subject: German news