Jul 01, 2011

Taiwan: MEPs Argue For End to “One China” Policy

Slovakian MEP Peter Štastný has led calls for the EU’s approach to trade with Taiwan to abandon its traditional consensus of “one china”, emphasizing the increasing recognition of Taiwan as an independent body from that of China.

Below is an article published by The Parliament:

Several MEPs have called on the EU to drop its "one China" policy towards Taiwan.

Speaking at a conference in parliament on Thursday [30 June 2011], they said the policy, which favours Chinese sovereignty claims over Taiwan, "should be scrapped".

Demands were led by Peter Štastný, a centre-right MEP, who accused the EU of "living in the past" in continuing to support such a policy.

China claims sovereignty over Taiwan, a nation of 24 million people, and currently has over 1000 missiles targeting its cross-strait neighbour. Beijing still insists that it will use force to press its claim.

But Taiwan has traditionally disputed such claims and has, in recent years, mounted a major lobbying campaign in order to win EU support for its case.

On Thursday [30 June 2011], parliament hosted a debate to discuss current and future trade relations between the EU and Taiwan.

But the event was, to some extent, overshadowed by the ongoing political issues concerning the EU, China and Taiwan.

Štastný, a Slovakian deputy, said, "I cannot believe the EU still insists on its 'one China policy' towards Taiwan.

"The EU and Taiwan are moving ever closer economically but, so too, are Taiwan and China itself.

"China's sovereignty claims over Taiwan are counter-productive and so too is the EU’s continuing support for China’s sovereignty claims over Taiwan.”

He added, “I am appealing to the EU to drop its support for this policy. I also want the EU to start negotiations with Taiwan over a free trade agreement.

“Such agreements have been recently signed with the likes of South Korea. It begs the question: If South Korea, why not Taiwan?”

Štastný, a former ice hockey world champion, was also critical of Joao Aguiar Machado, deputy director general of the commission’s trade DG, who was another speaker at the conference.

Štastný said, “I asked the official directly what he thought about Taiwan’s claims for being more closely integrated into international organisations like the World Health Organisation and I was not particularly impressed with his response.”

David Lin, Taiwan’s representative to the EU and Belgium, told the debate that, currently, trade relations between Taiwan and the EU were “very healthy”.

He pointed out that the EU was Taiwan’s fourth largest trading partner and that both “stood to gain” from a possible free trade agreement.

He pointed to latest data showing that trade between the EU and his country had increased eight fold over the past 20 years.

He also said that the normalisation of relations between Taiwan and China would help safeguard regional stability.


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