Berlin, June 14 (CNA) The culture ministers of Taiwan and Germany met officially for the first time in Berlin on Tuesday, which Taiwan’s Culture Minister Lee Yung-te (李永得), hailed as an important milestone for cultural exchanges between the two sides.
Lee, who is visiting Europe for the first time since taking office in May 2020, met Claudia Roth at the Bundestag, Germany’s federal parliament, and they discussed cultural exchanges and human rights and issues of transitional justice, the Ministry of Culture (MOC) said in a statement.
Roth, Germany’s federal government commissioner for culture and media, praised Taiwan at their meeting as “standing bravely on the front line against China’s authoritarian regime”, and said all democratic partners should stand by Taiwan, the MOC said.
The German official also noted that at previous Cologne Pride parades, one of the biggest gay and lesbian events in Europe, millions of participants cheered on Taiwan after it became the first place in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage in May 2019, according to the release.
Lee replied that Taiwan upholds freedom and democratic values despite threats from an authoritarian country and hopes to have closer ties with democratic countries around the world.
They also spoke about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and expressed their utmost respect for the Ukrainian people in defending their freedom, democracy and sovereignty, according to the statement.
“We both believe that in the midst of the pandemic and the Russian-Ukrainian war, democratic countries should be more united,” Lee told an ANC reporter in Berlin after the meeting, and said that the two parties had agreed to forge closer ties on transitional justice, performance arts and cinema.
“Today’s meeting was a milestone in cultural exchange between Taiwan and Germany,” he said.
The Culture Ministry described it as the first time the culture ministers from both sides met.
Lee began his eight-day tour of Europe in Berlin on Monday with a visit to the Humboldt Forum, a non-European art museum on Museum Island in the capital’s historic center.
He met on Monday with Daniela Kluckert, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, and Evelyn Zupke, Federal Commissioner for Victims of the SED dictatorship.
He also officially appointed veteran curator, festival director and artistic director Dieter Jaenicke as the MOC’s international affairs consultant on the same day.
Lee will then head to the Czech Republic and was due to meet the head of that country’s Senate, Miloš Vystrčil, later on Wednesday.
He will then travel to Paris to present the Taiwan-France Cultural Prize before returning to Taiwan on June 21.