2024-0229: European Parliament Denies China’s Sovereignty Claims over Taiwan; U.S., Japan, S. Korea Stress Taiwan Strait Peace

European Parliament Passes Policy Implementation Reports with Language Denying China’s Sovereignty Claims over Taiwan

On February 28, the European Parliament approved two annual foreign and defense policy implementation reports with language supportive of Taiwan, including passages denying Taiwan’s subordination to China and, hence, China’s sovereignty claims over Taiwan.

The Annual Report 2023 on Implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the Annual Report 2023 on Implementation of Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) were passed by the European Parliament by votes of 338-86 (with 122 abstentions) and 350-91 (with 96 abstentions), respectively.

Most significantly for Taiwan, the annual report 2023 on implementation of the CFSP stressed that “China’s territorial claims [over Taiwan] have no basis in international law” and that “only Taiwan’s democratically elected government can represent the Taiwanese people on the international stage.”

The report also contained new language asserting that “neither Taiwan nor China is subordinate to the other.” This new phrase, which has not appeared in other recent versions of the report, echoed one of the “four commitments” Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen has touted since 2021.

Elsewhere in the report, the European Parliament said it “strongly condemns China’s continued military provocations against Taiwan” and “reiterates its firm rejection of any unilateral change to the status quo in the Taiwan Strait.”

The report also urged EU member states to back Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organizations and called on the European Commission to begin preparations to negotiate “a bilateral investment agreement with Taiwan Strait.”

Meanwhile, the annual report 2023 on implementation of the CSDP urged EU countries to conduct more “freedom of navigation operations in the Taiwan Strait” and deepen “security dialogues with Taiwan” to deter “Chinese aggression against the democratic island.”

In response, Taiwan’s Representative Office in the EU and Belgium issued a statement thanking the European Parliament for passing the reports, which it said “express staunch support for Taiwan” and “strongly condemn China’s attempts to change the status quo and the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait.”

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202402290003
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2024/03/01/2003814279

U.S., Japan, South Korea Foreign Ministers Stress Peace in Taiwan Strait

On February 23, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed gratitude to the U.S., Japan, and South Korea for their continuous attention to issues across the Taiwan Strait, and their efforts to maintain cross-strait peace and stability.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Yoko Kamikawa, and South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Cho Tae-yul “discussed efforts to maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait” on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on February 22, U.S. Department of State spokesman Mathew Miller said in a readout after the trilateral meeting.

The three leaders also exchanged views on “ongoing and future efforts to support one another’s respective Indo-Pacific strategies,” as well as North Korea’s provocative behaviors and the conflict in Gaza during the meeting, Miller added.

In response, Taiwan’s foreign ministry issued a statement on February 23, welcoming the discussion by the three heads of foreign affairs based on the collective stance their leaders adopted at a historic summit at Camp David, Maryland, in August 2023.

U.S. President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol in a post-summit joint statement reaffirmed “the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait as an indispensable element of security and prosperity in the international community,” and called for a peaceful resolution of cross-Taiwan Strait issues.

Chinese provocative actions intended to undermine the “status quo” across the Taiwan Strait ― such as China’s military intimidation against Taiwan and its unilateral alteration of the M503 flight route to come closer to the strait’s median line ― have posed severe challenges to regional security and aroused great concern from the international community, Taiwan’s foreign ministry added.

Like-minded nations have reiterated the importance of cross-strait peace and stability during leaders’ summits and multilateral meetings, showing that a strong international consensus exists on the issue, the ministry said.

As a responsible member of the international community, Taiwan is to continue working with international partners to safeguard the rules-based international order, and promote regional peace, stability and prosperity, it added.

[1] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2024/02/24/2003813997