• Directory of Taiwan

2 EU leaders back deeper ties with Taiwan, reject China's bullying

Presidents of European Council, European Commission vow to 'push back' against Beijing's 'coercive measures'

Charles Michel (left) and Ursula von der Leyen. (Facebook, Charles Michel photo; Twitter, Ursula von der Leyen photo)

Charles Michel (left) and Ursula von der Leyen. (Facebook, Charles Michel photo; Twitter, Ursula von der Leyen photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Formosa Club of pro-Taiwan legislators in Europe on Thursday (Oct. 28) released a letter from two European Union (EU) leaders backing Lithuania's deepened ties with Taiwan and condemning Beijing's attempts to intimidate the Baltic country.

In August, the co-chairs and members of the Formosa Club sent letters to the EU and NATO supporting Lithuania's prerogative to foster relations with Taiwan amid threats from China. On Thursday, European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen penned a letter thanking Formosa Club for its expression of solidarity with Lithuania and concerns over China's exertion of pressure on the country.

Michel and Von der Leyen characterized the reaction by China's leaders as "unjustified and disproportionate," as the representative offices to be opened in Lithuania and Taiwan are not considered to be equivalent to embassies or consulates and therefore are not a violation of the EU's "one-China policy."

According to the two leaders, the EU has brought up the issue with Chinese officials and called for "de-escalation." They pointed out that although the matter is between China and Lithuania, changes in China's relations with the bloc's member states "have an impact on overall EU-China relations."

They emphasized the EU does not consider the opening of "Representative Offices of Taipei" in Lithuania to be a breach of the EU's "one-China policy," as the majority of other member states already have such offices.

They reiterated the EU's commitment to the "one-China policy" and that it only recognizes the regime in Beijing as the "sole legal government of China." Nevertheless, they asserted the right of member states to "further develop relations and cooperation with Taiwan."

The two leaders stated that they are "likeminded partners" that share values and principles with Taiwan, particularly in terms of democracy, the rule of law, and human rights. They described Taiwan as a "key economic and high-technology partner in the region."

Michel and Von der Leyen closed by emphasizing that China's exertion of "threats, political pressure, and coercive measures" against member states is "not acceptable." They then vowed to "push back" against such behavior through unity and solidarity to uphold their interests.