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EU delegation to Taiwan rejects claim of provocation

November 5, 2021

A group of EU lawmakers has concluded its three-day visit to Taiwan amid accusations of provocation from Beijing. The delegation has called for more international engagement.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, center pose for photos next to Raphael Glucksmann, the chair of the EU's foreign interference committee and other EU parlimentarians during a meeting in Taipei
The EU delegation, led by French MEP Raphael Glucksmann, was in Taiwan for a three-day visitImage: Taiwan Presidential Office/AP Photo/picture alliance

A member of the European Parliament called on the international community to engage more with Taiwan during a visit to the island.

French MEP Raphael Glucksmann also rejected the accusation from Beijing that the visit was a provocation. It is the first time EU lawmakers have made an official visit to the island.

"The more you interact with Taiwan, the further you get from a war situation," Glucksmann told a news conference.

"It's not a provocation to come to Taiwan. It should be normal. And this is a message we are sending," he said.

Dangerous territory: Is Taiwan next on China's list?

What was the delegation doing in Taiwan?

Glucksmann was with six other MEPs from the Special Committee on Foreign Interference in all Democratic Processes (INGE).

They said that the aim of their trip was to learn how the Taiwanese government counters disinformation from authoritarian regimes.

While there, the lawmakers also expressed concerns over the degeneration of democratic principles in the region, citing the "very comprehensive lesson from events in Hong Kong," which has fallen increasingly under the will of Beijing in the last couple of years.

"Any silent appeasement to Beijing's policy, it's like a repetition of former mistakes the world made long ago," Lithuanian MEP Petras Austrevicius said.

China warns against diplomatic relations

China frequently brandishes the accusation of "provocation" when officials visit Taiwan.

Beijing considers the self-ruled island a renegade province and has vowed to bring it back into the fold someday.

Biden says US will defend Taiwan

The tension between the sides has ramped up recently, with the Chinese military flying unprecedented numbers of planes through Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ).

Beijing has also tried to keep the island isolated from the international community, warning recently against attempts to give Taiwan its seat back at the UN.

But the EU delegation believes engagement will encourage peace.

"We're convinced that the more you have interaction between the international community and Taiwan, the less dangerous the situation will be in the [Taiwan] strait," Glucksmann said in Taipei.

ab/nm (AFP, dpa)

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