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Taiwan angry at Germany over flag removal

July 13, 2020

The German Foreign Ministry has removed the Taiwanese flag from its website where it describes bilateral relations. Taiwan has expressed its displeasure, citing how other territorial flags remain. 

Screenshot from the Germany's Foreign Ministry website
Germany's Foreign Ministry website now shows simply a blank square instead of the Taiwan flagImage: auswaertiges-amt.de

Taiwan on Monday reacted with dismay to the German Foreign Ministry's decision to remove the Taiwanese national flag from its website. 

Taiwan's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou told reporters "we have gravely expressed our government's position" to the German Institute Taipei, which is part of the German Foreign Ministry. 

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The national or territorial flags of all other countries and territories, including China's Hong Kong and Macao special administrative zones, are on the ministry website. But there is a blank space on Taiwan's page where an image of its flag had previously appeared. 

Citing the different treatment of Taiwan in comparison with other countries and territories, spokeswoman Ou said her ministry "cannot accept this kind of discrimination." 

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Germany: One-China policy 

Ou's comments, carried by the German DPA news agency, came in the wake of media reports that an image of Taiwan's national flag had been taken down from the website that describes Berlin's bilateral relations. 

German ministry spokesman Rainer Breul answered a question about the issue in a July 10 press conference, stating the alteration had been made because "we have a one-China policy," according to the state-owned Radio Taiwan International (RTI) and media outlet Taiwan News.

Breul added that "we do not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan and Taiwan is not a country we recognize. Therefore, it should not be surprising that when we introduce the territories of the world, we draw a distinction between it and countries with which we have diplomatic relations," RTI reported. 

John Silk Editor and writer for English news, as well as the Culture and Asia Desks.@JSilk