EU officials endorse Ma’s peace initiative at meeting

By Jason Pan  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Wed, Nov 21, 2012 - Page 3

European officials reportedly endorsed President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) East China Sea Peace Initiative last week and said they welcome the innovative views outlined in the plan.

Their endorsement came at the annual consultation meeting on non-trade issues of the European Union Centre in Taiwan, which also discussed the implications for cross-strait relations of the Chinese Communist Party’s 18th Party Congress and other issues.

According to sources, Taiwanese officials told their European counterparts at the two-day bilateral consultation meeting that current cross-strait relations would stay the course, despite changes in China’s leadership.

European officials reportedly said that geopolitics, the economy and cultural affairs were the three main focuses of ongoing relations development between the EU and China.

Taiwanese officials attending the meeting said they explained Taiwan’s perspective on sovereignty over the disputed islands in the South China Sea and the East China Sea, while emphasizing Ma’s East China Sea peace initiative.

The EU officials welcomed the initiative, saying it conformed with the EU’s objectives on East Asia politics.

Other issues discussed included encouraging bilateral exchanges for academics, strengthening cooperation on human rights, enhancing privacy information protection, preventing human trafficking, and promoting the multilateral contacts between the judiciary and executive agencies of Taiwan and the EU.

Opened three years ago, the center has been commended for the many concrete results it has achieved and the EU has promised its continued support for its operation.

As far as Taiwan is concerned, the center has asked the EU to send the officials in charge of the Marie Curie Actions program to visit universities in Taiwan to better promote this grants program.

The Marie Curie Actions is one of the EU’s main fellowship programs to nurture talent in the scientific fields by supporting researchers with grants to further their research work and academic exchanges in European countries.

Regarding the Taiwanese government’s stated objective to participate in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and other international organizations, EU officials has advised Taiwan to pass the stalled greenhouse gas reduction act (溫室氣體減量法) to show the government’s resolve in complying with international standards.

According to Taiwanese officials, this EU-Taiwan consultation meeting was the most successful in recent years, with a number of EU specialized agency officials participating.