Taiwan and Slovakia yesterday signed an agreement on judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters, the first of its kind signed by Taiwan with an EU country.
The pact was signed during a ceremony at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ in Taipei by Representative to Slovakia David Lee (李南陽) and his Slovakian counterpart, Martin Podstavek.
The event was witnessed by a visiting Slovakian delegation led by Slovak National Council Deputy Speaker Milan Laurencik, as well as Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥).
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
Wu described the agreement as another “extraordinary milestone” in bilateral ties that gives Taiwan and Slovakia a comprehensive framework for cooperation on judicial issues.
The two nations in August last year signed an agreement on judicial cooperation in criminal matters.
“By establishing the framework, Taiwan is expanding the freedom and rights of its people while enhancing ties with Slovakia,” Wu said.
Laurencik said that the latest agreement is another major step in mutual cooperation that would strengthen the bilateral friendship between Slovakia and Taiwan.
“Good deals make good friends,” Laurencik added.
The Ministry of Justice said that the agreement encourages the two sides to share information on civil and commercial legal issues, respond to requests for assistance in civil and commercial cases, and hold regular meetings to facilitate cooperation in these areas.
This was the first agreement on civil and commercial matters that Taiwan has signed with an EU country. It signed a similar agreement with Vietnam in August 2020.
Meanwhile, the European Parliament on Tuesday voted to pass a resolution expressing concern over China’s “threats” to Taiwan’s sovereignty and security in the wider Indo-Pacific region.
The resolution — which was based on a report from the parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs on security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region — was adopted in a 474-60 plenary session vote, with 80 abstentions.
China’s use of military action to threaten the territorial integrity of Taiwan had exerted “further strain on regional security and stability,” the report said.
It pointed to China’s rapid military buildup, and increasingly assertive and expansionist behavior in the Indo-Pacific region, as well as its military activities in the Taiwan Strait, as evidence of Beijing’s destabilizing influence.
The report made particular note of what it called Beijing’s “deliberate and repeated violations” of Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, while warning “of the danger of an accelerated arms race in the region” and calling for the EU “to prepare a strategy based on realities on the ground that would allow it [the EU] to react if need be.”
It also “strongly refutes any attempt by Chinese propaganda to draw similarities between the Russian war in Ukraine and the overall security situation of Taiwan.”
The situations in Ukraine and Taiwan differ significantly, historically, and when analyzing the role of Taiwan in the regional and global context, it said.
The report stressed its opposition to any unilateral action undermining the cross-strait “status quo,” and said that any change must not be made against the will of Taiwanese.
At the same time, the report recognized Taiwan as “a key partner and democratic ally in the Indo-Pacific” region and called for the EU to enhance its existing partnership with Taiwan, including on securing the free navigation of primary maritime routes, ensuring an open and safe airspace, and tackling climate change.
In a statement issued yesterday, the foreign ministry thanked the European Parliament for taking concrete steps to support Taiwan.
The resolution shows the European Parliament’s wariness regarding “China’s increasingly assertive behaviors that undermine regional peace and stability,” it said.
As a responsible actor in the Indo-Pacific region, Taiwan would continue working with the EU and the bloc’s member states to contribute to the peace and stability of the region, and counter the threats posed by authoritarian regimes to the international order, it said.
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