Nov 23, 2004

Taiwan: China's influence is a problem for Taiwan-EU ties

China's relentless efforts to cast Taiwan as a "troublemaker" among European countries have caused great damage to the country's interests
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China's relentless efforts to cast Taiwan as a "troublemaker" among European countries have caused great damage to the country's interests, Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Joseph Wu said yesterday.

Wrapping up a confidential weeklong visit to several European countries, including France, Germany and Belgium, Wu encouraged government officials to intensify communication with European governments in order to convince them of Taiwan's serious pursuit of cross-strait peace.

"China has been insulting Taiwan without rest in Europe. Our government officials should travel to Europe and explain to the European society Taiwan's policy of pursuing peaceful development across the Taiwan Strait," Wu said.

Talking to reporters at a softball game between officials from the council and the Presidential Office yesterday morning, Wu described the trip as "highly sensitive" and said he could not reveal most details about his trip.

Wu told reporters in Berlin Saturday that he made the trip to Europe to make the Taiwanese government's stance known. He admitted, however, that not all nations he visited welcomed him.

"Some European leaders, for the sake of business interests, have made anti-Taiwan remarks when they met with Chinese officials. France is pretty adamant adhering to [French President Jacques] Chirac's `one China' policy," Wu said in Berlin.

Wu met with politicians, academics and think tank representatives during his trip to Europe.

"People I talked to showed understanding toward Taiwan's stance," he told reporters in Taipei.

European countries are considering whether to lift the arms embargo against China imposed fifteen years ago.

"France is clear it wants the ban removed. Germany's parliament recently passed a resolution to maintain the embargo," Wu said.

He pointed out that the resolution requested the German government ask Chinese authorities to improve the country's human rights record, peacefully resolve its problems with Taiwan and control arms proliferation.

"Under pressure from its parliament, I believe the German government would seriously consider the [arms embargo] issue. The EU cannot lift its arms embargo on China as long as some of its members oppose to the move," he added.

Commenting on US President George W. Bush's meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Chile, Wu said the US' cross-strait policy would not change for the foreseeable future.

Hu praised Bush's adherence to the "one China" policy, the Three Communiques and his opposition to Taiwan's independence. Bush did not make public comments on the Taiwan issue.

"The US will brief us on the contents on the Bush-Hu meeting through proper channels soon," Wu added.

He said Washington's cross-strait policy is unlikely to change after US Secretary of State Colin Powell steps down and is replaced by Condoleezza Rice.

"Rice understands cross-strait issues clearly," Wu said.

Source: Taipei Times