Taiwan welcomes criticism of China's 'saber-rattling' from European Parliament

The foreign policy and security reports also call for sanctions over rights violations in Hong Kong.
By Raymond Chung and Cai Ling
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Taiwan welcomes criticism of China's 'saber-rattling' from European Parliament Screengrab from China state TV of a PLA frigate at a recent seven-day, live-fire exercise in the South China Sea.

Taiwan on Friday welcomed the passage of a foreign policy report through the European Parliament hitting out at China's military "saber-rattling" near the democratic island and its support for the will of its 23 million citizens.

"Taiwan and the EU are friendly partners who share universal values such as democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law," Taiwanese foreign ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou told reporters in Taipei.

"As a responsible member of the Indo-Pacific region, Taiwan will actively cooperate with the EU, member states and partners with similar ideas in the region to safeguard the Taiwan Strait and peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region," she said.

The EU policy document strongly advocates for Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organizations, something that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has opposed for years, as well as a bilateral investment agreement.

"[This parliament] notes with serious concern the recent display of force and escalating tensions in regional hotspots such as the South and East China Seas and the Taiwan Strait," the report said.

"[It] expresses grave concern over China’s continued military maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait, including those aimed at Taiwan or taking place in Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone [and] calls on the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to stop this military saber-rattling which poses serious threats to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait," it said.

"Any change to cross-strait relations must not be made against the will of Taiwan’s citizens," it said.

The report was passed by a strong majority the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Thursday, and came after the body passed a total of 13 resolutions in 2021 containing language supportive of Taiwan, which has never been ruled by the CCP, nor formed part of the People's Republic of China.

"The content of the two resolutions underscores the European Parliament's deep concern and alarm over China's increasingly assertive and coercive actions ...  and its emphasis on Taiwan's key position in global geopolitics and economic and trade supply chains," Ou told reporters.

Reactions to policy

Li Ta-chung, an associate professor at the Institute of Strategy at Tamkang University, said the parliament only makes recommendations for member states' foreign policy, and whether the policies are implemented will depend on member states' individual governments.

China hit out at the policy in a statement on the website of its mission to the EU.

"The ... reports adopted by the European Parliament make irresponsible comments on China’s internal affairs, attack and discredit China’s human rights situation, and deny China’s legitimate right to safeguard its sovereignty and security," the statement said.

"We express our strong disapproval of and firm opposition to them."

The policy reports also took aim at the CCP's rights violations in Hong Kong and called on the EU Council to adopt targeted sanctions including travel bans and asset freezes, as well as on member states to suspend any extradition treaties with Hong Kong and China, sparking an angry response from the city's government.

"The [Hong Kong] government strongly objects to the unfounded remarks about Hong Kong in the report on the implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy for 2021 adopted by the European Parliament," it said in a statement on Friday. "Such repeated attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of our country ... are futile and disgusting."

"[We] will continue to firmly oppose and guard against foreign forces interfering in the internal affairs of Hong Kong," it said.

Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.


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