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Germany won't arm Taiwan, says senior lawmaker

January 11, 2023

A leading German lawmaker visiting Taiwan says Germany will not provide the island with weapons and has not been asked to do so. China has warned that foreign politicians who visit the island are "playing with fire."

German Member of Parliament Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann (L), chair of the parliamentary defence committee, greeting Taiwan Parliament Speaker You Si-kun
The delegation is in Taiwan after a string of visits in recent months by foreign politicians to the islandImage: STR/CNA/AFP

A senior politician in German defense circles told a news conference in Taipei on Wednesday that Berlin had no plans to send weapons to the democratically-ruled island.

Taiwan, viewed by Beijing as its own territory, has faced mounting pressure from China, which has been ramping up military, political and economic pressure to strengthen its claims.

What's the latest?

German member of parliament Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann told a news conference in Taipei that Germany had been generous in sending weapons to Ukraine, but that this would not be the case with Taiwan.

"The situation here is a different one. Our role is less military here. It's an economic question," said Strack-Zimmermann, whose neoliberal Free Democrats (FDP) is part of Germany's ruling coalition.

"There's no question to send weapons to Taiwan. That is not the question," she said, adding that they spoke with politicians and people in Taiwan "and the question is not 'please Germany send us weapons.'"

"It's not a question of military equipment. I think there are different partners here," said the politician, who heads Germany's parliamentary defense committee.

German lawmakers visit Taiwan amid tensions

Taiwan's military is mostly equipped with weapons either made domestically or by the United States. France has also previously sold fighter jets and warships to the island.

What's been happening on the trip?

At a meeting on Tuesday, Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen thanked Germany for its support following a meeting with a delegation of lawmakers from the neoliberal Free Democrats (FDP).

"Today, facing authoritarian expansionism, democracies must stand together upholding values of freedom and democracy," Tsai said.

The high-ranking parliamentary delegation from Germany is led by Strack-Zimmermann and party deputy chair Johannes Vogel.

China has strongly criticized the delegation of some lawmakers from the FDP, the smallest party of Germany's ruling coalition government. The group landed in Taiwan for a four-day visit on Monday, causing consternation in Beijing.

China considers the self-ruled democracy, which has had an independent government since 1949, as part of its territory.

Beijing says its "One China" policy is the political basis for bilateral relations between China and its diplomatic partners, including Germany.

It has responded by holding military exercises, which some observers view as a rehearsal for a blockade or invasion.

rc/rs (dpa, AFP, AP Reuters)

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