European Parliament Vice President Nicola Beer in Taipei yesterday urged China to refrain from “threatening gestures” that could alter the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait.
Beer made the statement during a meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).
“We call on the People’s Republic of China to refrain from its threatening gestures” and instead “take an active and constructive part in maintaining and securing the current status quo based on neutral and respectful dialogue,” Beer said.
Photo: Taiwan Presidential Office via AP
Beer is leading a delegation from the European Parliament in Taiwan through today.
While the EU remains committed to having good relations with China, it has “deep and serious concern about China moving in a direction that could unilaterally alter the status quo” in cross-strait relations, she said.
Only Taiwanese can decide their nation’s future, Beer said, adding that societal development should continue in a “free and peaceful” manner.
Europe would “stand up against any provocation or threatening of the status quo” while working to contribute to peace and stability in Asia, she said.
Taiwan is a “responsible and reliable international partner,” Beer said, speaking favorably of a bilateral investment agreement between Taiwan and the EU, as well as an upgrade of the EU’s representative office in Taiwan.
Taiwan-EU relations have progressed a long way, Beer said, adding that her visit as vice president of the European Parliament is indicative of that.
“The EU parliament is pushing European institutions and its members, also in their respective national member states, to [develop] ever closer relations with Taiwan in the economic field, sciences, student exchange, [and] agriculture,” she said.
Tsai expressed the hope that the sides would begin talks for a bilateral investment agreement, saying it would “generate even greater well-being among our people.”
Taiwan looks forward to boosting cooperation with fellow democracies to “jointly create a resilient democratic alliance,” Tsai said, adding that the nation could share its experiences of being on the front line for the defense of democracy.
German-born Beer has been a member of the European Parliament since 2019. She is the first vice president of the legislative body to visit Taiwan in an official capacity. Previous vice presidents have visited as lawmakers rather than executives.
The delegation also met with Deputy Legislative Speaker Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌), Minister Without Portfolio Audrey Tang (唐鳳) and Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chiu Tai-san (邱太三), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
In related news, the EU on Tuesday said it supported “preserving peace and the status quo in the Taiwan Strait,” after the bloc’s incoming ambassador to China voiced support for “reunification.”
Jorge Toledo Albignana, who is to take up his post in Beijing in September, told La Vanguardia, a Spanish-language newspaper, in an interview published on Sunday that the EU would support “peaceful reunification” instead of “independence for Taiwan,” when asked how the EU would react in the event of a Chinese attack on Taiwan.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) on Tuesday underlined Taiwan’s right to self-determination, saying that “only the people of Taiwan can determine its future.”
Asked about Albignana’s remarks, EU spokesperson Peter Stano told the Central News Agency later in the day that the EU remains committed to a “one China” policy.
“Within this policy, we are also pursuing friendly relations and close cooperation with Taiwan in a wide range of areas,” Stano said.
The EU also has an interest in “preserving peace and the status quo in the Taiwan Strait as well as Taiwan’s democratic system of governance,” he said.
“We encourage a peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues. Tensions should be resolved through dialogue,” he added.
Stano said that Albignana had not yet officially taken up his ambassadorial post in China, adding that the bloc’s delegation in Beijing “is still headed by the Ambassador [Nicolas] Chapuis who delivers the EU’s positions and explains EU policies” in an official capacity.
Additional reporting by Jake Chung
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