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EU committed to closer engagement with Taiwan: official

2019/01/31 13:43:48

Christos Stylianides, the EU commissioner in charge of humanitarian aid and crisis management (Image taken from his Twitter account)

Brussels, Jan. 30 (CNA) The European Union (EU) is committed to closer engagement with Taiwan and has asked for constructive dialogue between Taipei and Beijing, an EU official said Wednesday.

Christos Stylianides, the EU commissioner in charge of humanitarian aid and crisis management, said Wednesday in a plenary session of the European Parliament that the EU is interested in developing closer relations with Taiwan.

"In many ways, the EU and Taiwan are like-minded," Stylianides said, adding that the EU's engagement with the nation has become more intense recently because it respects Taiwan's system of governance based on democracy, rule of law and human rights.

Stylianides said that even without official diplomatic recognition, the EU has always encouraged Taiwan to be an active player in international affairs.

Meanwhile, the EU supports all initiatives aimed at boosting dialogue across the Taiwan Strait, part of promoting peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region, Stylianides said.

"We regret that cross-strait relations have remained frozen for the past two years," Stylianides said, suggesting that the tension between China and Taiwan has increased since the beginning of the year.

The EU, despite being geographically distant, has asked Taiwan and China to avoid action that could increase tension and to reinstate constructive dialogue, the EU commissioner said.

Cross-strait relations have been strained since the inauguration of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in 2016, because her government refuses to accept the "1992 consensus" under which Beijing defines Taiwan as part of "one China."

In a speech delivered Jan. 2 to mark the 40th anniversary of China's "Message to Compatriots in Taiwan," Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) said Beijing is willing to talk with any party in Taiwan to push forward the process of peaceful unification on the basis of the "one China principle."

In response to the message, Tsai restated her position and said her government refused to acknowledge the "1992 consensus" because it is tantamount to the "one China, two systems" formula devised by China to bring Taiwan under its control.

(By Tang Pei-chun and Chi Jo-yao)