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Fri, Oct 03, 2003 - Page 17 News List

German Unity Day greetings from GIT

By Ulrich Dreesen

This year, as in years past, the Day of German Unity on October 3 is a day of joy, a day of gratitude and a day of confidence. We are joyful that our country is no longer torn in two by an inhuman border. We are grateful that so many friendly nations helped us along our way to unity and shared our happiness. We are confident that Germany will push its internal reforms ahead and continue to make positive contributions -- alongside our friends and partners -- to peace and stability in the world as a member of the European Union, NATO and the United Nations.

Having concentrated our energies for decades on overcoming national separation, reunification has made it possible to concentrate our attention more than before on other areas of the world and to intensify our relations with them. This is especially true for East Asia and Taiwan.

With our friends in Taiwan we share common values like democracy, rule of law, human rights, freedom of press and information and we also have the same system of a market economy. Taiwan is an important economic partner. For Germany, Taiwan is the third largest business partner in the whole of Asia, with Germany being Taiwan's largest trade partner in Europe.

Furthermore, there are close and important cultural and scientific ties. Currently about 1,400 Taiwanese are studying in Germany and 25 academic cooperation programs exist between Taiwanese and German universities. An increasing number of German students come to study in Taiwan, particularly to learn the Chinese language. Taiwan and Germany can work together as well in many other areas, for example, in the protection of the environment, in the development of renewable energy and in the field of high technologies and research.

Some weeks ago we were greatly honored and delighted to welcome Taiwan's first lady to Berlin on the occasion of the opening of the National Palace Museum's exhibition, "Treasures of the Sons of Heaven." More than 100,000 visitors have already come to see this outstanding exhibition of Chinese art and culture and many more are expected to follow. This marks an epoch-making event in the cultural annals of Germany and Taiwan, which will further deepen the mutual understanding between the people of our two countries.

For the year 2004 we are looking forward to receiving an exhibition of German art -- masterworks of the Berlin State Museums from classicism to early modernism -- in Taipei.

On both sides there is a lot of interest and good will to further enhance the friendly, close and fruitful ties between Taiwan and Germany. Taiwan can continue to count on the Federal Republic of Germany as a reliable friend and partner.

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