Feb 26, 2008

Taiwan: EU Official Supports Taiwan

Taiwan has won the support of a senior European Commission official Etienne Reuter in its efforts to join the world community.

Taiwan has won the support of a senior European Commission official Etienne Reuter in its efforts to join the world community.

Below is a press release published by The Parliament:

Taiwan has won the support of a senior European commission official in its efforts to join the world community.

Speaking in Brussels, Etienne Reuter said, “Taiwan is a fully-functioning democracy with its own institutions and has a legitimate right to membership of international organisations.

“It is one of the EU’s highest ranking trading partners and both the economic and trade links between the EU and Taiwan are very important.”

Reuter, senior adviser on Asian affairs for the commission, pointed out that Taiwan was already a member of some organisations, such as the WTO and added, “I believe Taiwan has a full contribution to make internationally.”

Reuter was speaking on Monday [25 February 2008] at a seminar on China, organised by the European Policy Centre, a leading Brussels-based think tank.

His comments come as Taiwan prepares to hold a referendum on its continued efforts for observer status at the United Nations.

The poll will be held on 22 March [2008], the same day as the country’s presidential elections.

Taipei will also press its case for membership of the WHO when its decision-making body, the WHA, holds its general assembly in Geneva on 19 May.

Several MEPs, including Graham Watson, leader of the ALDE group in the European parliament, have publicly called for Taiwan to be allowed to join organisations like the UN and WHO.

Taiwan says that opposition from China remains the main stumbling block to it joining such institutions.

Reuter was a keynote speaker on a panel which included Du Qiwen, vice minister for the Central Foreign Affairs Office in China.

Qiwen told this website that he hoped the current dispute across the Taiwan Straits could be settled amicably.

Taiwan has repeatedly criticised the authorities in Beijing over what it sees as Chinese aggression in its bid to reunify the island with the mainland.

China currently has more than 1,300 missiles pointing at Taiwan, something Taipei sees as an overt threat.

Reuter, who works on the China desk in the external relations directorate-general, said that under no circumstances would the commission condone the use of force or military action to settle the ongoing dispute between China and Taiwan.

He said, “Our continued hope is that this matter can be settled peacefully through dialogue between the two countries.”

* A group of nine US congressmen recently sent a joint letter to President George W.Bush calling on him to abolish what they called an "obsolete "one China" policy. In the letter, they stressed that the policy, which is supported by the EU, was drawn up during the Cold War.