Germany seeks more active role in Indo-Pacific (Sent)

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Taipei, September 4 (ANC) Jörg Polster, Germany’s new representative in Taiwan, recently said his country hopes to strengthen its presence in the Indo-Pacific through multilateral cooperation with regional partners, including Taiwan and China .

“This is an important region for us, and we would like to be more active, also more visible in this region,” Polster told CNA in an exclusive interview on August 27.

Polster said the German government was taking a “comprehensive approach” to its Indo-Pacific strategy, which aims to diversify economic partnerships, strengthen international law, multilateral cooperation and collaboration on security policy in the region.

To demonstrate its intentions, Germany sent its frigate Bayern to the region on August 2 for a six-month voyage, and it will cross the South China Sea on its return voyage, becoming the first German warship to have been doing this since 2002, Polster said. .

The ship will participate in the maritime surveillance of the United Nations sanctions against North Korea, dock in the ports of partner countries and participate in multilateral activities, according to the German government.

Polster said he currently has no information that Bayern will cross the Taiwan Strait during their run, adding that Germany is looking to balance relations with Taiwan and China.

“Taiwan is an important partner, and of course the question will immediately arise: what about mainland China? It is also a partner,” he said.

While China poses great challenges to the region, what the German government is looking at is how it can build its relationship with China like it does with Taiwan.

“It’s a balancing approach. It’s not ‘one or the other’,” Polster said.

Asked how Germany is trying to avoid getting locked into a zero-sum game when dealing with Taiwan and China, Polster said it’s important to plan carefully without directly jumping into some decisions.

The recent dispute between Lithuania and China over the Baltic state’s decision to allow Taiwan to open a representative office there under the name of “Taiwan,” for example, was among the issues the German government has followed up on. close.

However, whatever policy framework Germany adopts, it is possible to be flexible, Polster said, stressing that communication is key.

It is therefore unfortunate that China is recalling its ambassador to Vilnius on this issue, he said.

It would have been much easier with the ambassador and the communication channel in place, Polster said, “to see what happened, why it happened and what the solutions might be.”

“So more talk, more talk, actually that’s the way to approach this and not less,” he said.

Promoting more exchanges between Taiwan and Germany will also be a top priority, according to Polster, who succeeded Thomas Prinz as Germany’s representative in Taiwan in July.

There were many plans to strengthen bilateral relations before the COVID-19 outbreak, but they have been on hold since March 2020, he said.

“I would already be very happy if I could help get back to where we were two years ago,” said Polster.

Polster, who holds a doctorate. in physics, was posted to countries such as South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, and more recently India, before returning to Taiwan.

(By Chung Yu-chen and Lee Hsin-Yin)

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