Mon, Feb 14, 2005 - Page 1 News List

German official caved to China's pressure: report

AFP AND DPA , Berlin and Hamburg

German Economy and Labor Minister Wolfgang Clement cancelled a planned visit to Taiwan after pressure from China, according to the weekly magazine Der Spiegel to be published today.

The magazine cited ministry sources as saying that the Chinese ambassador to Germany, Ma Canrong (馬燦榮), had made it clear in talks with Minister of State Bernd Pfaffenbach last week that China was opposed to any visit by a German minister to Taiwan.

The ministry sources said that China, however, could agree to a ministry of state-level official going to Taiwan within the framework of an overall Asia tour by Clement.

Clement had received Taiwan's Minister of Economic Affairs Ho Mei-Yueh (何美玥), in Berlin last December and had made plans to meet Ho in Taiwan.

Ho will now welcome a less senior German minister as part of Clement's Asian tour, which will precede the annual visit to China of German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

Der Spiegel noted that Chinese ambassador Ma had previously sought to thwart a visit by Hessen State Premier Roland Koch with exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama. But Koch went ahead with the trip to north-western India and met with the Dalai Lama on Feb. 5.

Germany is the most important European economic partner of China with a trade volume in excess of US$50 billion last year.

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