Mar 19, 2013

Taiwan: A More “Far-Reaching Relationship” With The EU

Taiwan’s new representative to the EU and Belgium states that he wants Brussels to press for a more “far-reaching relationship” with Taipei.

Below is an article published by

Taiwan's new representative to the EU and Belgium says he wants Brussels to press for a more "far-reaching relationship" with Taipei.

Speaking at an event to mark his arrival in Brussels, Kuoyu Tung also said Taiwan was "ambitious to do its utmost to bring peace and stability" to the East China Sea.

His comments come after parliament last week adopted a report on Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou's peace initiative for the disputed Diaoyutai Islands in the East China Sea.

The report said parliament "takes note of Taiwan's initiative with a view to reaching a consensus on a code of conduct for the East China Sea and the establishment of a mechanism allowing all sides to cooperate in the joint exploitation of the region's natural resources, including capacity for the generation of electricity from renewable sources."

It welcomed the increasing exchanges between China and Taiwan and stressed the improvement in cross-strait ties but added that relations "are still being seriously undermined by Chinese missiles aimed at Taiwan and by China's international isolation of Taiwan".

The report, "EU-China Relations" by Dutch EFD MEP Bastiaan Belder, also supported Taiwan's meaningful participation in international organizations.

According to the report, the EU recognizes the strong cross-strait economic ties and the new opening-up of Taiwan to Chinese tourists and cultural cooperation.

Ma's peace initiative calls on all parties involved in territorial disputes to "refrain from hostile actions, to put aside their differences and not abandon dialogue."

The newly-arrived representative told a 200-strong audience of Taiwan's ambition to be a peacemaker in Asia-Pacific, recalling Israeli president Shimon Peres' remarks to the Strasbourg plenary last week that Taiwan is "ambitious to do its utmost to bring peace and stability" to the East China Sea.

He said he was "certain" that this posting in Brussels, "the centre of the European integration process," would "present many challenges and opportunities" during his tenure.

In the wake of free trade agreements signed recently with countries such as South Korea, some MEPs, such as ALDE's Graham Watson, are now pressing for the EU to forge closer trade relations with Taiwan, saying both sides stand to benefit.

Taiwan, which has successfully weathered the global economic downturn, continues to be one of the EU's biggest trading partners in Asia.

In his speech, Tung, a former Taiwan deputy foreign minister, also heralded the "tremendous progress" made in EU-Taiwan relations in "various fields" over the past ten years.

He also spoke of the "interests and values" that Taiwan and the EU share which he believes "now gives added impetus for both sides to push ahead for a more far-reaching relationship".