The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said it would demand a correction after a Chinese-language report by Deutsche Welle (DW) quoted President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) as saying he aims to learn from the experience of East Germany and West Germany in handling bilateral relations and “their ultimate unification.”
The story was picked up by Taiwanese media outlets, which raised questions whether Ma was pushing for a similar unification between Taiwan and China.
The president met Beijing-based correspondents for Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA), German newspaper Allgemeine Zeitung and French newspaper Le Figaro at the Presidential Office on Monday.
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times
The meeting was first described as a “joint interview,” but Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Vanessa Shih (史亞平) yesterday said that it was not a “special interview,” but a “meeting with the media.”
According to DW’s Chinese-lanugage report and a German report by the DPA, Ma told the reporters that there is something to learn from the two German states’ handling of their bilateral relationship for the rapprochement between Taiwan and China. Bilateral communication led to the signing of the Basic Treaty in 1972 between West Germany and East Germany, and “it was a good step,” Ma was quoted as saying.
Ma was referring to the Permanent Mission set up by the Federal Republic of Germany in the German Democratic Republic, which he believed to be similarly possible between Taiwan and China, where mutual representative offices could be set up, the reports said.
However, the relationship between the two German states, which was based on the principle of “two states, one nation,” cannot be directly applied to the cross-strait situation, Ma reportedly said.
That is because the cross-strait relationship is not a “state-to-state” relationship, but neither is it an “in-state” relationship, Ma reportedly said.
“It’s a relationship that has until now never existed before in history,” he was quoted as saying.
However, the DPA’s English-language report on the meeting did not include any reference to Ma talking about the two German states as a model; instead, it focused on Ma’s hope to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Beijing in November.
Neither did the DPA report in German mention the word “unification” — unlike DW’s Chinese report, which led with the statement that according to Ma: “He is willing to learn from how the two German states handled their bilateral relationship and achieved ultimate unification.”
“What the president was underlining was the peace that could be maintained by the setting up of mutual representative offices, as was done in the two German states,” Shih said yesterday.
“And the ultimate unification he referred to was one between the two German states, not that [Taiwan and China] are going to achieve unification via the German model,” she added.
Shih said the report was “mistaken and came up with its own interpretation” of what the president was talking about.
“Because DW’s report is in Chinese, our media have therefore also transcribed the mistake,” she said.
Shih said the Presidential Office is working on a word-by-word transcript of the talk and the ministry would demand a correction from DW when the transcript is completed.
Despite the clarification, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Hsiao Bi-kim (蕭美琴) slammed Ma’s denial of the similarities between the relationship between the two German states and that between Taiwan and China, calling it the president’s “self-denial” of the possibility that Taiwan and China could “join international organizations side by side.”
BLUE WAVE: The KMT’s Chiang Wan-an defeated the DPP’s Chen Shih-chung and is to become Taipei mayor, while President Tsai Ing-wen stepped down as DPP chairperson after many of the party’s candidates, handpicked by the leadership, performed poorly The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday flipped key mayoral seats in Taipei, Taoyuan and Keelung, and won control of 13 out of 22 cities and counties in the nine-in-one local elections. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) last night resigned as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson over a poor showing by the party’s candidates, who were handpicked by the DPP leadership rather than chosen through primaries. The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) won its first high-profile race with Hsinchu mayoral candidate Ann Kao (高虹安) defeating Shen Hui-hung (沈慧虹) of the DPP with 45.02 percent of the vote to Shen’s 35.68 percent. Voters were choosing more than
UNDETERRED: The US chip designer’s plan showed that Taiwan remains attractive for investment by global companies despite cross-strait tensions, Wang Mei-hua said US graphics chip designer Nvidia Corp is planning to relocate its Hong Kong-based logistics center to Taiwan, Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said on Wednesday. The government had been in discussions with Nvidia regarding tax incentives to facilitate the move since last year, Wang said in an interview with the Central News Agency, adding that the two sides had reached a consensus. Wang did not provide details about the timetable for the move or the planned tax arrangements for Nvidia. The relocation would boost the local economy, as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) is a major supplier of graphics processing
Kaohsiung police last week busted a money laundering operation suspected of seeking to interfere in tomorrow’s local elections. The operation was allegedly headed by a man surnamed Lee (李), who had received NT$9.5 billion (US$306.18 million) from China over the past six months, Kaohsiung police said yesterday, adding that Lee’s ring is suspected to be part of a larger Chinese effort to interfere in the elections and support pro-China candidates. Officers arrested Lee, 35, and his girlfriend, searched his mansion, and seized the money he had allegedly received from China and three luxury vehicles, police said. The operation was disguised as an online
CAUTION: Wearing a mask in crowded places and for people with chronic illnesses or allergies can help prevent COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, the CECC said The mask mandate for outdoor settings is to lifted on Thursday, and the weekly cap on international inbound travelers is to be removed on Dec. 10, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said at its regular news conference yesterday. The center also announced that starting from Friday, children aged five to 11 can receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster, and that rules for visiting hospital patients are to be partially eased from Dec. 10. While wearing a mask will no longer be mandatory outdoors, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Victor Wang (王必勝) reminded the public that it would still be required