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European Parliament members express support for Taiwan

2019/03/06 15:29:22

Brussels, March 5 (CNA) Members of the European Parliament on Tuesday expressed support for Taiwan and highlighted the importance of establishing a partnership between Taiwan and Europe.

At a seminar titled "Why Taiwan Matters" held at the European Parliament, Werner Langen, chairman of the European Parliament Taiwan Friendship Group, said the group is staunchly supportive of Taiwan, saying that Chinese President Xi Jinping's (習近平) speech on Taiwan in January underlined the increasing importance of forging a partnership between Europe and Taiwan.

He also stressed EU support for peace and called on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait to maintain constructive dialogue, adding that after the European Parliament elections in May, the Taiwan Friendship Group will continue to push for greater support of Taipei.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese experts in international relations called on Europe to increase active cooperation with Taiwan on the basis of the shared core values of democracy and freedom.

Lai I-chung (賴怡忠), president of the Prospect Foundation, said that Taiwan's success is evidence that democracy can be implemented in Asia and given the European Union's core values of democracy and freedom, cooperation between Taiwan and EU should be enhanced.

In contrast to China, which is becoming increasingly authoritarian, Taiwan's diverse democracy guarantees human rights, Lai said, adding that given the stand off between democratic Taiwan and authoritarian China, Taiwan's existence is of great importance to the international community.

Also at the seminar, Russell Hsiao (蕭良其), executive director of the Global Taiwan Institute (GTI), highlighted the United States' long standing support for Taiwan, citing as an example the December 2016 phone call between then U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).

In addition, in a speech to the Hudson Institute in the U.S. last October, Vice President Mike Pence condemned China for luring away three of Taiwan's Latin American allies, describing such actions as threatening stability in the Taiwan Strait.

Meanwhile, Pence lauded Taiwan's democracy, saying "America will always believe that Taiwan's embrace of democracy shows a better path for all the Chinese people," according to Hsiao.

Furthermore, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised Taiwan as a democratic success story, in a statement read at the 19th Micronesian Presidents Summit last month, according to Hsiao.

The seminar was hosted by Andrey Kovatchev, deputy chairman of the European Parliament-Taiwan Friendship Group, and attended by nine other European Parliament members, dozens of parliamentary assistants and individuals with an interest in cross-strait issues.

(By Tang Pei-chun and Evelyn Kao)