European foreign policy officials yesterday sought to present a tough stance against China’s threats against Taiwan, after comments by French President Emmanuel Macron drew a backlash for being perceived as weak.
China has over the past few days held intense military drills around Taiwan.
German Minister for Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock, addressing the issue at a news conference in Beijing alongside Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Qin Gang (秦剛), said any attempt by China to control Taiwan would be unacceptable and would have serious repercussions for Europe.
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Joseph Borrell echoed her remarks in a statement prepared for a speech due to be delivered in Beijing at the Center for China and Globalization think tank that had to be canceled due to him testing positive for COVID-19.
“A military escalation in the Taiwan Strait, through which ... 50 percent of world trade goes every day, would be a horror scenario for the entire world,” Baerbock said, adding that it would have “inevitable repercussions” for European interests.
In interviews published after his trip to China last week, which was meant to showcase European unity on China policy, Macron cautioned against being drawn into a crisis over Taiwan driven by an “American rhythm and a Chinese overreaction.”
While many of the remarks were not new, the timing of their publication, and their bluntness, annoyed many Western officials.
“The European Union’s position [on Taiwan] is consistent and clear,” Borrell said in his prepared remarks. “Any attempt to change the status quo by force would be unacceptable.”
Borrell also said that Europe’s future relationship with China depended on Beijing trying to use its influence to find a political solution to the Ukraine crisis.
“It will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the European Union to maintain a relationship of trust with China, which I would like to see, if China does not contribute to the search for a political solution based on Russia’s withdrawal from the Ukrainian territory,” Borrell said.
“Neutrality in the face of the violation of international law is not credible,” he said, adding an appeal for Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) to speak with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and for China to provide more humanitarian aid to Ukrainians.
Xi has met Russian President Vladimir Putin twice, but not spoken with Zelenskiy, since Russia invaded Ukraine.
China stated its opposition to attacks on civilians and on nuclear facilities in a position paper on Ukraine published in February, but it has refrained from openly criticizing Russia for its invasion.
“President Xi’s visit to Moscow has demonstrated that no other country has a bigger influence on Russia than China,” Baerbock said.
“It is good that China has signalled to get engaged in finding a solution, but I have to say clearly that I wonder why China so far has not asked the aggressor Russia to stop the war,” she said. “We all know President Putin has the opportunity to do so any time he wants to.”
CALL FOR PEACE: Czech President Petr Pavel raised concerns about China’s military maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait and its ‘unfriendly action’ in the South China Sea The leaders of three diplomatic allies — Guatemala, Paraguay and Palau — on Tuesday voiced support for Taiwan’s inclusion in the UN on the first day of the UN General Debate in New York. In his address during the 78th UN General Assembly, Palauan President Surangel Whipps Jr urged the UN and all parties involved in cross-strait issues to exercise restraint and seek a peaceful resolution. “The well-being and prosperity of nations and their economies are intrinsically linked to global peace and stability,” he said. He also thanked partner nations such as Taiwan, Australia, Japan and the US for providing assistance
CROSS-STRAIT CONCERNS: At the same US Congress hearing, Mira Resnick said a US government shutdown could affect weapons sales and licenses to allies such as Taiwan A Chinese blockade of Taiwan would be a “monster risk” for Beijing and likely to fail, while a military invasion would be extremely difficult, senior Pentagon officials told the US Congress on Tuesday. Growing worries of a conflict come as China has ramped up military pressure on Taiwan, holding large-scale war games simulating a blockade on the nation, while conducting near-daily warplane incursions and sending Chinese vessels around its waters. US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner said a blockade would be “a monster risk for the PRC [People’s Republic of China].” “It would likely not succeed, and it
AMPHIBIOUS EXERCISES: The defense ministry said that it had detected 24 Chinese PLA Air Force planes entering Taiwan’s air defense zone over the previous 24 hours Chinese movements around Taiwan were “abnormal,” Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) said yesterday, flagging recent amphibious exercises in addition to drills Taipei has observed in China’s Fujian Province. Taiwan has reported a rise in Chinese military activity over the past week as dozens of fighters, drones, bombers and other aircraft, as well as warships, have operated around the nation. “Our initial analysis is that they are doing joint drills in September, including land, sea, air and amphibious,” Chiu told reporters at the legislature in Taipei. The “recent enemy situation is quite abnormal,” he said. The comments followed a statement from the
IN MOURNING: Tsai visited the site and spoke with family members of those killed, while all the major presidential candidates said they would temporarily halt campaigning A fire and subsequent explosions at a golf ball factory at Pingtung Technology Industrial Park (屏東科技產業園區) killed at least seven people, including four firefighters, and injured 98, while three were still missing, authorities said yesterday. The blaze at Launch Technologies Co’s (明揚國際) plant on Jingjian Road raged for more than 12 hours after it started at about 5pm on Friday, officials said. The Pingtung County Fire Bureau early yesterday used large excavators to search for missing people, while family members waited at the scene. Pingtung County Fire Bureau Director Hsu Mei-hsueh (許美雪) said the bureau received a call about the fire at 5:31pm