EU Commissioner calls for closer cooperation with Taiwan

Taiwan discussed during a European Parliament meeting Wednesday afternoon

European Commissioner Christos Stylianides

European Commissioner Christos Stylianides (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News ) — Closer cooperation with Taiwan was called for during a plenary session of the European Parliament on Wednesday afternoon (Brussels time).

CNA reports in a rare move Taiwan-China relations were discussed openly during an E.U. conference. European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides said the E.U. ought to expand cooperation with Taiwan across numerous fields, while ensuring the cross-strait status quo remains.

During the meeting, Stylianides reported observations and assessments from the European Commission on recent cross-strait developments. The E.U. reportedly continues to pay close attention to new developments in Taiwan-China relations following Xi Jinping’s Jan. 2 speech to mark the 40th anniversary of the “message to compatriots in Taiwan.”

During his new year speech, Xi restated China’s belief in the “One China Principle,” extolled the “virtues” of a “One Country, Two Systems” arrangement, and reiterated that China would not rule out use of force to complete the “unshakeable historical task” of cross-strait unification.

A number of E.U. representatives at Wednesday’s meeting reportedly identified that Tsai Ing-wen and the people of Taiwan resolutely oppose “One Country Two Systems,” and also urged for China to stop its persecution of the country. Additionally, they praised Taiwan for its free and open democracy and condemned China’s constant threats of force—demonstrating an uptick in allied voices within the E.U., writes CNA.

Stylianides said the E.U. expresses regret that cross-strait relations have increasingly intensified over recent years and hopes a peaceful dialogue can be established. Taiwan and the E.U. hold common values in democracy, rule of law and human rights, he commented, and Taiwan should more actively participate in international affairs.

The commissioner said although the E.U. and Taiwan are geographically distant, tensions in East Asia negatively impacts the economies of E.U. member states, so ensuring peaceful developments across the strait is also vital to protecting domestic interests.

The E.U. continues to encourage constructive dialogue between both sides of the Taiwan strait, despite China limiting high-level political engagement, poaching Taiwan’s allies and restricting its voice in the international arena, he added.

An E.U. representative told CNA on Jan. 4 that as cross-strait relations have stagnated over the past two years, supporting the status quo and attempting to reinitiate dialogue are extremely important. The E.U. supports all measures that will encourage dialogue, cooperation, and reestablish confidence in the region, the official added, and supports Taiwan’s system of governance. It promises to continue pushing for advanced relations with the Taiwan, CNA was told.