Ambassador José María Liu
Representative, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Spain
Recent statements by the new EU ambassador to Beijing, the Spaniard Jorge Toledo Albiñana, referring to Taiwan, have aroused our government’s concern. Asked about the EU’s possible reaction to a possible Chinese aggression against Taiwan, the new ambassador said that “the EU does not defend Taiwan’s independence, but rather peaceful reunification”. To date, the EU has always been in favour of understanding between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait and the maintenance of peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific area, but has never referred to Taiwan’s reunification or independence.
On this issue, our government’s position has always been very clear: Taiwan’s sovereignty belongs to the Taiwanese people and only the Taiwanese people can decide on its future. In her last speech on the occasion of the Republic of China (Taiwan) National Day celebration on 10 October, our President Tsai-Ing-wen set out the “four commitments for Taiwan: (1) the enduring commitment to a free and democratic constitutional system; (2) the commitment that the Republic of China and the People’s Republic of China must not subordinate each other; (3) the commitment to resist annexation or encroachment on our sovereignty; and (4) the commitment that the future of the Republic of China (Taiwan) will be decided according to the will of the Taiwanese people themselves.
The European Parliament, for its part, has always, and especially in recent times, shown clear and resounding support for Taiwan, to the point of having approved a total of 13 resolutions in favour of Taiwan in 2021, and so far this year 7 reports in the same direction. The last two reports adopted, on 5 and 6 July respectively, advocate, the first one, a deepening of bilateral economic relations between Taiwan and the European Union (EU), trying to facilitate the future signing of a Bilateral Investment Agreement (BIA) in search of mutual benefit for both parties. And the second supports Taiwan’s meaningful participation, as an observer, in the meetings, mechanisms and activities of international bodies under the United Nations (UN), including the World Health Organisation (WHO), the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Taiwan is a sovereign and democratic country, and has never been part of the People’s Republic of China. Under this premise, our Government will continue to firmly safeguard sovereignty, territorial integrity and national security, and maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. And to achieve this, we firmly rely on the support of like-minded allies and partners, such as the United States and the European Union, to stop China’s hegemonic expansion, which continues to threaten Taiwan.
The new ambassador himself has stressed, more in line with our own sentiments, that in the event of a military invasion, the EU would impose “similar or even greater measures than we have now taken with Russia”. And during a recent visit to Taiwan from 19-21 July, the Vice-President of the European Parliament, Nicola Beer, spoke out strongly on China’s threats against Taiwan, saying that “there is no place for Chinese aggression in democratic Taiwan”. The Vice-President regretted that Europe had been late to Hong Kong and assured that “it will not be late to Taiwan”, insisting that it was time for Europe to support Taiwan, because we are both members of a “family of democracies”.
It is common knowledge that, in this life, the most useful and necessary help comes from friends and family, so we remain absolutely confident that the European Union’s support for Taiwan will continue to be as strong and stable in the future, thus reinforcing Taiwan’s key position as the first line of defence of democracy in Asia.
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