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EU lawmakers push for closer ties with Taiwan amid rising Chinese pressure

/ 05:14 PM October 21, 2021
European Commission's executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager

European Commission’s executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager delivers a speech during a debate on EU-Taiwan political relations and cooperation at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, October 19, 2021.  REUTERS FILE PHOTO

BRUSSELS — The European Union must deepen ties with Taiwan and start work on an investment deal with the island, EU lawmakers said in a resolution adopted on Thursday, a move likely to anger Beijing as a similar EU-China deal struck in 2020 has been put on ice.

The European Parliament in the French city of Strasbourg, with a majority of 580 to 26 votes, backed the non-binding resolution requesting the bloc’s executive European Commission “urgently begin an impact assessment, public consultation and scoping exercise on a bilateral investment agreement”.

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The lawmakers also demanded the bloc’s trade office in Taipei to be renamed the European Union office in Taiwan, in effect upgrading the mission though neither the EU nor its member states have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory.

Military tensions between China and Taiwan have increased, with with Taipei saying Beijing will be capable of mounting a “full scale” invasion of the island by 2025.

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The EU added Taiwan to its list of trade partners eligible for an investment deal in 2015, but has not held talks with the democratically ruled island on the issue since then, although Taipei is keen on striking an agreement.

A similar investment deal agreed last year between the EU and its major trade partner China has been blocked for months. The European Parliament put its ratification on ice after Beijing imposed sanctions on EU lawmakers in a human rights dispute.

The tech powerhouse Taiwan, meanwhile, has become increasingly attractive for the EU amid a global shortage of semiconductors that has Brussels lobbying for key Taiwanese chip makers to invest in the bloc as they have done in the United States.

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TAGS: China, Diplomacy, European Union, Taiwan
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