European Parliament vice president hoping to visit Taiwan

12/04/2020 10:41 PM
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European Parliament Vice President Nicola Beer. Image taken during a video conference
European Parliament Vice President Nicola Beer. Image taken during a video conference

Brussels, Dec. 4 (CNA) European Parliament Vice President Nicola Beer has expressed an interest in visiting Taiwan as soon as travel conditions permit to show support for Taiwan at a time when China's threat against it is growing.

Beer made her interest known in a video conference with Tsai Ming-yen (蔡明彥), Taiwan's representative to the European Union (EU) and Belgium, on Thursday.

In the virtual meeting, Beer voiced her support for Taiwan and Hong Kong, and pre-recorded talks by Deputy Legislative Speaker Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) were broadcast, with Tsai inviting Beer to Taiwan.

In an email response to CNA later Thursday, Beer's office said she would visit Taiwan "as soon as the COVID-19 context allows this."

During the virtual meeting, Beer argued that Europe needed to support Taiwan's democracy, and that the events in Hong Kong showed that Europe must not wait to take action.

Now is the time for the EU to adjust its relations with Taiwan, she said, especially as calls for the EU to review its China policy are growing and China's threat against Taiwan is mounting and putting the status-quo across the Taiwan Strait in danger.

Increasing dialogue with Taiwan is part of the EU's efforts to help maintain peace across the strait, so stepping up EU-Taiwan ties is in line with the European Parliament's duties, she said.

In the email response from her office, Beer also stressed that continuous attention must be paid to China's military ambitions, particularly in the South China Sea, and its provocative diplomacy in the international community.

On efforts to deepen two-way relations and cooperation with Taiwan, Beer was cited as saying that concrete actions should be taken to initiate negotiations on an EU-Taiwan free trade agreement and support Taiwan's bid to gain observer status in the World Health Organization.

She also advocated boosting regular exchanges between the European Parliament and Taiwan's Legislature and strengthening cooperation in technological innovation.

A staunch supporter of Taiwan, Beer in November signed a joint letter with other European Parliament members to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus that called for Taiwan's participation at the annual World Health Assembly that was to resume later that month.

(By Flor Wang and Tang Pei-chun)

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