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EP passes foreign, defense policy reports with language backing Taiwan

02/29/2024 11:47 AM
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Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Taipei, Feb. 29 (CNA) The European Parliament on Wednesday approved two annual foreign policy and defense implementation reports with language supportive of Taiwan, including an assertion denying Taiwan's subordination to China.

The reports on the implementation of the 2023 Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) were passed by votes of 338-86 (with 122 abstentions) and 350-91 (with 96 abstentions), respectively.

Most significantly for Taiwan, the report on the implementation of the CFSP contained new language asserting that "neither Taiwan nor China is subordinate to the other."

The phrase, which has not appeared in other recent versions of the report, echoed one of the "four commitments" President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has touted since 2021.

However, it was unclear how such language could be reconciled with European Union policy more broadly, which states that "[in] following the 'one-China' policy, the EU does not have diplomatic or formal political relations with Taiwan."

Elsewhere in the reports, the European Parliament said it "strongly condemns" China's military provocations against Taiwan and rejects any unilateral changes to the cross-strait status quo.

To deter such "Chinese aggression," the defense report urged EU member states to conduct more "freedom of navigation operations" in the Taiwan Strait and to deepen security dialogues with Taiwan.

Meanwhile, the report on the CFSP urged EU states to back Taiwan's meaningful participation in international organizations and called on the European Commission to begin preparations to negotiate with Taiwan on a bilateral investment agreement.

In response, Taiwan's representative office in the EU and Belgium issued a statement thanking the parliament for passing the reports, which it said "express staunch support for Taiwan" and "strongly condemn China's attempts to change the status quo and the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait."

(By Tien Hsi-ju and Matthew Mazzetta)

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