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Democratic, free Taiwan matters:EU lawmakers

WORKING TOGETHER:Experts called on the EU to increase its cooperation with Taiwan on the basis of the shared core values of democracy and freedom

Staff writer, with CNA, BRUSSELS

European Parliament-Taiwan Friendship Group chairman Werner Langen gives President Tsai Ing-wen a copy of a “statement on promoting peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait” that was signed by 155 members of the European Parliament, while visiting the Presidential Office in Taipei on Feb. 20.

Photo courtesy of the Presidential Office

Members of the European Parliament on Tuesday expressed support for Taiwan and highlighted the importance of establishing a partnership between Taiwan and the EU.

At a seminar titled “Why Taiwan Matters” held at the European Parliament, European Parliament-Taiwan Friendship Group chairman Werner Langen said the group is staunchly supportive of Taiwan, saying that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) speech on Taiwan in January underlined the increasing importance of forging a partnership between the EU and Taiwan.

He also stressed EU support for peace and called on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait to maintain constructive dialogue, adding that after the European Parliament elections in May, the Taiwan Friendship Group would continue to push for greater support of Taipei.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese experts in international relations called on the EU to increase active cooperation with Taiwan on the basis of the shared core values of democracy and freedom.

Prospect Foundation president Lai I-chung (賴怡忠) said that Taiwan’s success is evidence that democracy can be implemented in Asia and given the EU’s core values of democracy and freedom, cooperation between Taiwan and EU should be enhanced.

In contrast to China, which is becoming increasingly authoritarian, Taiwan’s diverse democracy guarantees human rights, Lai said, adding that given the standoff between democratic Taiwan and authoritarian China, Taiwan’s existence is of great importance to the international community.

Also at the seminar, Global Taiwan Institute executive director Russell Hsiao (蕭良其) highlighted the US’ long-standing support for Taiwan, citing as an example the December 2016 telephone call between then-US president-elect Donald Trump and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).

In addition, in a speech to the Hudson Institute in Washington in October last year, US Vice President Mike Pence condemned China for luring away three of Taiwan’s Latin American allies, describing such actions as threatening stability in the Taiwan Strait.

Pence lauded Taiwan’s democracy, saying: “America will always believe that Taiwan’s embrace of democracy shows a better path for all the Chinese people,” Hsiao said.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also praised Taiwan as a democratic success story in a statement read at the 19th Micronesian Presidents Summit last month, Hsiao added.

The Brussels seminar was hosted by European Parliament-Taiwan Friendship Group deputy chairman Andrey Kovatchev and attended by nine other European Parliament members, dozens of parliamentary assistants and others with an interest in cross-strait issues.

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