Sun, Feb 03, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Taiwanese expats in Germany berate its foreign minister

By Hu Hui-ning and Jenny W. Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTERS IN LONDON AND TAIPEI

Taiwanese students and expatriates in Germany were requesting that the country's foreign minister reverse a statement he made last month in Beijing that Taiwan is part of China.

The protesters said such a statement was not only erroneous, but completely violated Taiwanese's right to decide for themselves.

Taiwanese students in Germany have written a letter demanding the Federal Foreign Office and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to rectify the statement he made on Jan. 22 during his meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi (楊潔篪), in Beijing.

STATEMENT

It was reported that in an effort to cement ties with China, Steinmeier said his country would continue to firmly adhere to its "one China" policy, which stipulates that Taiwan and Tibet are part of the China.

This policy also requires it to firmly oppose Taiwan's "referendum on UN membership" and not to support or encourage any attempt for Tibetan independence.

The statement appeared on the official Web site of the Federal Foreign Office.

LETTER

In their letter to Steinmeier, the Taiwanese students chided the foreign minister and said Taiwan is not and never has been a territory of the People's Republic of China (PRC).

They asked Steinmeier to explain why, if Taiwan is part of China, Taiwanese had never paid taxes to the Beijing government or why Taiwanese had never been conscripted in the People's Liberation Army.

The students also asked Steinmeier if it was possible for German nationals to obtain a visa to Taiwan by applying with the PRC embassy.

If none of the answers to the above questions were affirmative, the students said, the Federal Foreign Office should retract the statement from its official Web site and issue a public apology to Taiwanese worldwide.

PROTEST

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokeswoman Phoebe Yeh (葉非比) told the Taipei Times yesterday that the ministry had issued a strong protest to Berlin immediately after Steinmeier made the statement in Beijing.

"What the foreign minister said could not be more divorced from the truth," she said.

Readers interested in supporting the Taiwanese students can voice their opinion at www.taiwanischestudentenvereine.com/discuz/index.php.

Other Taiwan-affiliated groups in Europe have also written letters of protest to local newspapers.

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