German federal minister to make first visit to Taiwan in 26 years

Germany's education and research minister will travel to Taiwan next week. It will be the first such visit in 26 years by a German federal minister.

A spokesperson for the education ministry said at a news conference on Friday that the visit by Bettina Stark-Watzinger is aimed at strengthening cooperation in science and education.

The spokesperson pointed out that Taiwan leads the world in semiconductor development and production.

The details of her itinerary have not yet been announced, but local media report that she will arrive on Monday.

The last visit by a German minister to Taiwan was in 1997 by the economic minister.

Reuters news agency quoted sources close to the matter as saying that Stark-Watzinger will not meet with President Tsai Ing-wen, as the German government wants to avoid irritating Beijing excessively.

Germany had sought stronger ties with China under former Chancellor Angela Merkel.

But Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his government are working to reduce dependence on China in terms of trade and the procurement of resources such as rare earths.