German Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger will travel to Taiwan next week, Berlin said Friday (Mar 17), as the first cabinet member to visit in 26 years, a move set to spark tensions with China.

“The minister will make a two-day visit to Taiwan,” a ministry spokesman told reporters.

“The aim of the visit is to bolster and expand cooperation with Taiwan on science, research and education,” he said, given the Asian country’s strengths in high-tech manufacturing.

The visit comes two months after a high-ranking German parliamentary delegation travelled to the self-ruled island in a move strongly criticised by Beijing.

China’s Communist Party regards democratic Taiwan as its own territory and has vowed to one day take the island.