ARCHIV - 30.07.2022, Taiwan, Taipei: Zwei Soldaten senken die Nationalflagge während der täglichen Flaggenzeremonie auf dem Freiheitsplatz der Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Berlins Liberale wünschen sich eine Städtepartnerschaft mit Taipeh. (zu dpa: FDP fordert Städtepartnerschaft mit Taipeh) Foto: Chiang Ying-Ying/AP/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

The Berlin factions of the SPD and the left are opposed to the proposal by the FDP faction to enter into a city twinning between Berlin and Taiwan’s capital, Taipei. “A town twinning should promote long-term cooperation and exchange,” said the deputy chairmen of the Berlin Left Party, Manuela Schmidt and Tobias Schulze, to the Tagesspiegel.

Such a connection must first be filled with life so that it is more than a mere symbolic shell. And that takes time. “As a one-off, symbolic expression of solidarity, a town twinning is therefore less suitable,” said the two MPs. Support for Taiwan is primarily required from the federal government. As a coalition party, the FDP could certainly achieve more here.

Melanie Kühnemann-Grunow, responsible for town twinning in the SPD parliamentary group, said: “As a free, democratic city, we stand by Taipei’s side”. In the current political situation, however, she considers the advance to be “highly dangerous”. She thinks it would make more sense to use the existing city partnership with Beijing to point out human rights violations. “Diplomacy is the way to go.”

The CDU also rejected the proposal. “We see deepening cooperation with Taipei as a first step,” said MP Björn Wohlert. This is conceivable with the creation of a corresponding parliamentary group. The AfD had already spoken out against the proposal on Sunday.

The Berlin Green Group, on the other hand, is “fundamentally open to a town twinning with Taipei”. Such a move could strengthen civil society exchange between the two cities, said Green MP Jian Omar, who is responsible for town twinning. This can be discussed and discussed in the responsible committee for engagement, federal government and media in the House of Representatives.

However, it must be clear that a town twinning is not an instrument of political influence. “The foreign policy options of a federal state are very limited and here the federal government is responsible for ensuring protection and stability in the South China Sea together with the international community,” Omar continued.

The FDP MP Tobias Bauschke initiated the discussion on Saturday by calling for a partnership between the cities. He told the Tagesspiegel on Monday that his group would bring the proposal to the House of Representatives as soon as the committee meetings began again. “We are dependent on the political will of the coalition for the project,” says the politician, who is also a member of the German-Taiwan Society.

That is why discussions will be held with members of the other groups in advance. According to Bauschke, the FDP parliamentary group has had “intensive contact” with the Taiwan representative office in Germany for years. Two Taiwan MPs are currently on a trip to Berlin. “I will meet the two and also talk to them about a possible town twinning,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the Senate announced that every Berliner may suggest a town twinning. A new town twinning is usually preceded by a long mutual process in which the main focus is on agreeing on the content of the partnership. Only then does the Senate make a decision, before the two mayors sign an agreement, if necessary.