China 'taunting Taiwan' with Afghanistan crisis says expert
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On Wednesday, the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, voted in favour of a report to begin work on a bilateral investment agreement with Taiwan. An amendment also suggests the bloc should rename its trade office in Taipei as the “European Union Office in Taiwan”.
The references implying Taiwan as an independent nation has triggered a furious response from China.
Officials in Beijing have since ordered the EU to toe the line of the “one-China” policy and argued the proposal threatens to violate the diplomatic arrangement.
The “one-China” policy stems back to 1979 and recognises the communist regime in Beijing as the sole legal government of China.
President Xi Jinping continues to recognise Taiwan as a wayward province of China and not a breakaway island nation.
Responding to the new report in the EU Parliament, the state-run agency China Xinhua News tweeted: “China urges certain bodies and members of the European Parliament to adhere to the one-China principle when handling Taiwan-related issues.”
In a statement, the Chinese Mission to the European Union claimed the move seriously violated the “one-China” principle.
It said: “These moves exceed far beyond the scope of normal nonofficial economic and trade cooperation and cultural exchanges between the EU, its member states and Taiwan, constitute serious violations of the one-China principle and undercut mutual trust and cooperation between China and the EU.”
German Greens MEP Reinhard Bütikofer claimed Beijing had even tried to stop the Taiwan report from being published.
He claimed the Chinese ambassador lobbied European President David Sassoli.
Mr Bütikofer tweeted: “Chinese ambassador to the EU had intervened with EP President #Sassoli before, trying in vain to stop the adoption.”
Swedish MEP Charlie Weimers said the EU-Taiwan report show the bloc is ready to “upgrade its relationship” with the island.
He said: “The first European Parliament report on EU-Taiwan relations sends a strong signal that the EU is ready to upgrade its relationship with our key partner Taiwan.
“The Commission must now intensify EU-Taiwan relations and pursue a comprehensive enhanced partnership with Taiwan.
“Work on an impact assessment, public consultation and a scoping exercise on a Bilateral Investment Agreement with the Taiwanese authorities in preparation for negotiations to deepen our economic ties must begin before the end of this year.”
A press release added the report “expresses grave concern over China’s continued military belligerence, pressure, assault, exercises, airspace violations and disinformation campaigns against Taiwan”.
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It also urges the EU to “do more to address these tensions and to protect Taiwan’s democracy and the island’s status as an important EU partner”.
The European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs voted by 60-to-four in favour of the “EU-Taiwan Relations and Cooperation” report.
The latest flare-up between China and Europe comes a month after Beijing withdrew its ambassador in Lithuania.
China recalled its official from Vilnius following a decision to allow the East Asian island to open a de facto embassy under the name Taiwan in its capital.
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