by N. Peter Kramer
The European Parliament (read: EU Parliament) strongly condemned the recent Chinese aggressive military exercises in the Taiwan Strait, while calling for strengthened EU relations with Taipei.
In a resolution adopted on Thursday, MEPs denounced China’s recent and unprecedented live-fire military exercises in the Taiwan Strait, which began in August 2022 following a visit to Taiwan by the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi. They also demanded the Chinese government refrain from any measures which could destabilise the Taiwan Strait and regional security. MEPs approved the text 424 votes in favour, 14 against with 46 abstentions.
Noting Taiwan’s status as a like-minded EU partner, its strategic trade position and the country’s leading role in the global supply chain of key high-tech sectors, including for semiconductors, the European Parliament calls on the EU to strengthen its relations with the democratically governed island. The resolution welcomes Lithuania’s recently announced plans to open a trade representation office in Taipei in the autumn of 2022. EU countries who do not yet operate a trade office in Taiwan should, MEPs say, follow Lithuania’s example and strengthen their bilateral relations with Taiwan.
MEPs repeat their request for the European Commission to launch, without delay, an impact assessment, public consultation and scoping exercise on a Bilateral Investment Agreement (BIA) with the Taiwanese authorities. The EU has a BIA with many less important countries. Now Taiwan has shown its willingness for it at least ten years. Is it the fear for China that the Commission doesn’t want to cooperate with this country?’.
Acknowledging that the EU continues to maintain its principled ‘One China’ policy position as the basis for EU-China relations the EP reiterated that the status quo in the Taiwan Strait must not be changed unilaterally and opposes the use or threat of force. The resolution also stresses that “on the democratic island of Taiwan, it is up to the people to decide how they want to live”.