29th Sep 2022

EU's China stance 'here to stay' despite Taiwan tensions

  • Taiwan is the EU's 15th largest global trading partner - China is number two (Photo:
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The EU will not shift its "One China" policy with Beijing in the wake of the recent flare-up in tensions over Taiwan.

The position was reaffirmed on Thursday (1 September) by Dominic Porter, a senior official with the EU's external policy branch, EEAS.

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"Let there be no question. The EU's 'One China' policy is here to stay," he said.

The strategy builds on notions of what the EU describes as a "principled, practical and pragmatic" engagement.

But China is also the EU's second-largest trading partner, with Taiwan trailing far behind at 15th.

Porter also put to rest any bilateral investment agreement plans with Taiwan.

"[It] is not currently on the cards", he said, noting however that Taiwanese companies are already free to invest in Europe.

"In fact, Taiwanese investments have increased in recent months not decreased," he said.

The self-governing island of some 23 million people off China's coast is a global leader in semiconductors.

But it is also at constant risk of being absorbed by Beijing, which launched a campaign of military intimidation against Taiwan in early August following the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

This included live fire exercises, jet fighter overflights, cyber attacks, and incursions into Taiwanese air space.

The aftermath of those tensions were among the reasons the European Parliament's committee on foreign affairs demanded a session with Porter on Thursday.

Its chair, German centre-right MEP David McAllister, said that while the EU respects the One China policy, it won't "tolerate any unilateral attempts to modify the status quo."

Similar comments were made by German MEP Michael Gahler, who Beijing blacklisted last year after the EU sanctioned Chinese officials over alleged human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region.

Gahler's said Pelosi's visit to Taiwan would be followed by others, including members of the European Parliament.

"The Chinese are watching also closely how we react on Russia's aggression towards Ukraine. And if we step back there, they will feel encouraged," he said.

China has cosied up to Russia following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine in late February.

China's ambassador to Moscow, Zhang Hanhui, has also repeated the Kremlin line on the invasion and blamed Washington as the "main initiator and main instigator of the Ukrainian crisis."


Let Taiwan's democracy shine brighter

Dr Ming-Yen Tsai, head of the Taipei Representative Office in the EU and Belgium, responds to EUobserver op-ed on Taiwan by the Chinese ambassador to Belgium. "Taiwan is an 'island of resilience'. That will continue to be the case."


Supporting Taiwan 'like carrying water in a sieve'

China's ambassador to Belgium, Cao Zhongming, says the US has been distorting, obscuring and hollowing out the 'one-China' principle and unscrupulously undermining China's core interests. This is sheer double standards and a shameful act of bad faith.


EU should admonish less, and listen more, to the Global South

Whether on Russia, or gas, or climate change, or food security, the EU's constant finger-wagging and moralising is becoming unbearably repetitive and self-defeating. Most countries in the Global South view it as eurocentric and neo-colonial.

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