The timing of the German Chancellor’s trip to China and the signals he will give to Beijing have raised questions at home.
The Green Party, which is part of the governing coalition, said in Taiwan that Scholz’s visit is the most controversial in the last 50 years.
It will be the first visit by a European leader to China since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which Germany strongly opposed. The US accused Beijing of providing Moscow with diplomatic backing. NATO was criticized for provoking the attack, and for punishing economic sanctions on Russia.
Some in the ranks of Scholz’s three-party governing coalition are questioning the timing of his visit. His February trips to Russia and Ukraine caused a lot of controversies.
Butikofer, who was part of a group of European lawmakers visiting Taiwan, spoke to a news conference from his hotel room, where he was under the care of a nurse.
“Just as in other European countries and the EU, all together China policy will be in transformation for some time,” Butikofer said.
He will use his trip to make the case for Chinese moderation and help in calming the situations with Taiwan and Ukraine.
In the face of Chinese threats to annex Taiwan, the self-governing island republic has drawn increasing support from Western politicians even though their governments maintain only unofficial relations with Taipei.
Butikofer said that Germany’s governing coalition had agreed on a first-ever “clear expression of support for Taiwan’s democracy against China’s aggression” as well as Taiwan’s “meaningful participation” in international organizations.
The visit had special resonance since last month’s twice-a-decade congress of China’s ruling Communist Party, in which Beijing’s determination to “reunify” with Taiwan was reiterated by President Xi Jinping. The majority of Taiwanese reject Beijing’s calls to accept Chinese rule after the sides split during the civil war of 1949.
I think the core message of our visit here is that we have a message for Beijing. “Taiwan is not to be isolated, but that contacts will only increase, that we will not be intimidated, that will be coming over more often, and that our relations and our friendships are not to be determined by other people.
Nathan Law, a Hong Kong pro-democracy activist, criticized Scholz’s visit to Beijing, saying it risked sending mixed messages over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Law told The Associated Press during a visit to Taiwan that the German Chancellor’s visit was damaging the unity of the world against Russia’s war efforts.
Law, who fled arrest in Hong Kong during Beijing, said that Scholz’s trip is giving a lot of opportunity for Xi to see it as a badge of honor, to see it as means to dismiss the unity of the free world and silently decrease pressure for Russia.