Is China Attacking Taiwan? No, not that – not yet. But Beijing’s military drills around Asia’s flagship democracy are like a rehearsal for a raid, maybe in 20 years, maybe in ten or five. In response to Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, China may have launched missiles over the island nation for the first time.
Pelosi’s journey was risky – and right. She has radiance. towards Beijing. towards Berlin? A group of members of the German Human Rights Committee have just announced that they will start a long-delayed trip to Taiwan in October. Good this way. But there’s even better.
There are rational reasons why the federal government has to take into account constraints on Taiwan. Official relations would be desirable, but are initially difficult to achieve. Taiwan’s representative in Germany has instead proposed a visit by a Bundestag delegation headed by Parliament Speaker Baerbel Bas. The idea deserves support.
It would be a strong sign if the non-partisan respected Bärbel Bas, nominally Germany’s second highest-ranking politician, met President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei, as US Parliament Speaker Pelosi, EU Parliament Vice President Nicola Beer and Czech Senate President Miloš Vystrčil recently did.
In Germany, a national agreement stands in the way of such a trip. Out of consideration for China, the heads of the constitutional bodies (Bundestag, Bundesrat, Federal President, government, constitutional court) as well as the foreign and defense ministries do not maintain any contact with their counterparts in Taiwan.
It is a stumbling block that Germany has put in its own way – and can clear it again. Now would be a good time. It wouldn’t be a big step: In 2011, Bundestag Vice President Hermann Otto Solms visited Taiwan and even met President Ma Ying-jeou and his current successor, Tsai.
symbolic politics? Yes. That’s what it’s all about. An isolated country like Taiwan depends on large public gestures from countries showing solidarity. People in Germany may not have understood that yet: symbolic politics is realpolitik in Taiwan.
In the case of Ukraine, many were only startled from their appeasement cosiness when Volodymyr Zelenskyj spoke to the Bundestag from bombed-out Kyiv. There was a standing ovation. Must Chinese Su35 fighter jets raze Taipei before Taiwan gets the same attention?
The President of the Bundestag should visit Taiwan. Not hasty; such a journey requires preparation and sensitivity. But soon. Taiwan doesn’t have forever.