Fri, Jun 01, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Europe should make its own TRA, says top official to Britain

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The nation's representative to the UK yesterday called for the EU to formulate a law or framework to help stabilize security in the Taiwan Strait along the lines of the US' Taiwan Relations Act.

"We believe there is a need for a law that provides a structure or a principle for stabilizing relations and security in the Taiwan Strait," Edgar Lin (林俊義) said. "The last thing we want to see is the EU making political gestures in the event of a conflict occurring in the Taiwan Strait."

Lin made the remarks in a report to the legislature's Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs Committee on bilateral relations between Taiwan and the UK.

Lin said Taiwan interacts positively with the UK in the areas of trade and culture.


For instance, he said, the UK is the nation's third-largest trade partner in Europe.

It is estimated that bilateral trade reached US$5.29 billion last year, with Taiwan's exports to Britain totalling US$3.51 billion and imports from Britain amounting to US$1.78 billion.

The number of Taiwanese students studying in Britain stands at more than 15,000, accounting for 25 percent of the total number of Taiwanese students studying overseas.

Britain has become the second most-popular destination for students pursuing further education after the US, he added.


But politically, the UK takes a more conservative attitude toward Taiwan because it strictly adheres to Beijing's "one China" policy.

Saying that the UK plays an important role in the EU, Lin added that Taiwan should work to increase UK support and concern on security issues in the Taiwan Strait, including asserting pressure on China rather than appeasing it, and by refusing to lift the arms embargo on China.

Reviewing their acceptance of the "fallacy" that is Beijing's "one China" policy and requesting China stop suppressing freedom of religion and human rights would also help, he noted.

"We should highlight the absurdity of China asserting in the international community that it has unilateral authority on issues of cross-strait security," Lin said.

Lin, however, added that parliamentary exchanges between the two countries had borne fruit.

The number of members of a pro-Taiwan group within the British parliament has increased to 51 from 17 in May 2005.

Taiwan's legislature also established a Taiwan-British parliamentary group in April 24, which now has 36 members, he added.

Additional reporting by CNA

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