Mon, Sep 19, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Envoy to Germany speaks in support of independence

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

An interview with Taiwan's representative to Germany, Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉), by Radio Berlin-Brandenburg, one of Germany's top radio stations, was broadcast yesterday.

Shieh spoke of Taiwan's hope of participating in the international community as an independent country.

The one-hour news program was aired yesterday, between 11am and noon in Berlin. The program's host referred to Shieh using the title botschafter, or ambassador. The powerful mainstream radio news station in capital Berlin has on average 300,000 listeners.

Shieh said since he took the position in early May, he has sensed that Taiwan's stance was not fully understood by German officials.

"People have `Taiwan consciousness,' and are now eager to be fairly treated," Shieh said in fluent German.

Taiwan's democratization was also discussed in a short panel discussion themed "Taiwan, between Beijing and freedom."

Other guests on the program included Reinhold Wandel, a German-language expert who has taught in Taiwan, and Kay Moeller, a political expert from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, an influential think tank supported by the German government.

Moeller said the younger generation in Taiwan has a stronger "Taiwan consciousness" and that the status quo in the Taiwan Strait would not last for long.

"Taiwan's main priority is to reform its political system. Cross-strait relations should not keep Taiwan from deepening its democracy and developing its economy," Moeller said.

Asked about cross-strait issues, Shieh said that Taiwan is an island country, which has been ruled by several foreign countries throughout its history and that its democratization had become one of the most extraordinary and treasured assets of its people.

"Taiwan is not against China but rather its autocracy. Taiwan will be glad to sit and talk with China as long as China removes its military threats," Shieh said.

The interview was recorded several days ago in front of a studio audience.

Shieh, who was a German professor and talk show host in Taiwan, performed a tongue twister he created in English, Japanese, Mandarin and Hoklo (or Taiwanese) which was was well received by the audience.

"I hope someday Taiwan will become a truly independent country, which makes peace with not only its neighbors, including China, but also the rest of the world," Shieh said.

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