2023-0216: Taiwanese Lawmakers Hosted in Dutch Parliament; Italy Opposes Unilateral Changes in Taiwan Strait Status Quo

Taiwanese Lawmakers Hosted in Dutch Parliament for First Time

On February 14, a delegation of Taiwanese legislators was welcomed at the Dutch House of Representatives for the first time in history, where they exchanged views with its members.

The meeting was “historic,” said Dutch lawmaker Rudmer Heerema, who hosted the Taiwanese delegation, comprising Chiu Chih-wei, Hsu Chih-chieh and Tsai Shih-ying of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Heerema, chairman of the House’s Foreign Affairs Committee, and seven other Dutch lawmakers from across party lines showed interest in a wide range of issues related to Taiwan’s political and economic situation during the meeting, a video of the meeting showed.

On the Taiwan-China issue, the Taiwanese legislators said it was important for the two sides of the Taiwan Strait to carry out dialogue on an equal footing, and it was also necessary for Taiwan to build up its defense capabilities to help avoid war.

Legislator Chiu also thanked the Dutch parliament for passing six resolutions since 2019 that expressed support for Taiwan.

The resolutions included backing Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) — organizations in which Taiwan does not take part because of China’s objections and bullies.

Another resolution urged the Dutch government to openly express its opposition to China changing the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait unilaterally.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202302150006
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2023/02/16/2003794439

Italy Opposes Unilateral Changes in Taiwan Strait Status Quo: Italian FM Tajani

On February 14, Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Antonio Tajani said that Italy is aligned with the EU and NATO in opposing unilateral changes to the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait, after China announced a diplomatic trip to Rome.

On February 13, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Wang Yi, Director of the Office of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), would be visiting France, Italy, Hungary and Russia from February 14 to 22.

Wang is also scheduled to speak at the Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany this weekend, which U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is likely to attend.

It is Wang’s first overseas trip since assuming China’s top diplomatic position on January 1, following a decade as minister of foreign affairs from 2013 to last year.

Speaking at a forum in Rome on February 14, Tajani confirmed that Wang would visit Italy next week.

Tajani then issued a message to China, saying that “the status quo must be maintained in the Indo-Pacific; we are committed to this with NATO and the EU.”

“[Taiwan] must remain as it is,” he said, an apparent reference to China’s aim of so-called “unification” with Taiwan.

“There must be no temptation to do elsewhere what Russia has done in Ukraine,” Tajani added.

The issue was also raised in a meeting in December 2022 between Tajani and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, when they declared their “opposition to unilateral efforts to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait.”

[1] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2023/02/16/2003794438