Brussels [Belgium], September 2 (ANI): Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have urged the European Union (EU) to pursue closer relations with Taiwan, while issuing warnings over the continued tensions across the Taiwan Strait.
In a new report adopted on Wednesday, MEPs on the Foreign Affairs Committee advocated closer relations and a stronger partnership between the EU and Taiwan guided by the EU's One China Policy.
"The first European Parliament report on EU-Taiwan relations sends a strong signal that the EU is ready to upgrade its relationship with our key partner Taiwan. The Commission must now intensify EU-Taiwan relations and pursue a comprehensive enhanced partnership with Taiwan," said rapporteur Charlie Weimers (ECR, Sweden) after the vote.
"Work on an impact assessment, public consultation and a scoping exercise on a Bilateral Investment Agreement (BIA) with the Taiwanese authorities in preparation for negotiations to deepen our economic ties must begin before the end of this year," he added.
According to an official release, the members also hailed Taiwan as a key EU partner and "democratic ally" in the Indo-Pacific that contributes to maintaining a rules-based order in the midst of an intensifying rivalry between the great powers in the region.
To step up cooperation, the text stresses the need to urgently begin an "impact assessment, public consultation and scoping exercise" on an EU-Taiwan Bilateral Investment Agreement (BIA).
MEPs highlighted the importance of trade and economic relations between the two sides, including on matters relating to multilateralism and the World Trade Organization, technology such as 5G, public health, as well as essential cooperation on critical supplies such as semiconductors, the release said.
The report expressed grave concern over China's continued military belligerence, pressure, assault exercises, airspace violations and disinformation campaigns against Taiwan. It urged the EU to do more to address these tensions and to protect Taiwan's democracy and the island's status as an important EU partner.
MEPs insisted that any change to Chinese-Taiwanese cross-strait relations must be neither unilateral nor against the will of Taiwanese citizens. They also issued a stark reminder of the direct connection between European prosperity and Asian security and of the consequences for Europe if a conflict were to extend well beyond the economic realm.
The Taiwan Strait is a 180-kilometer-wide strait separating the island of Taiwan and continental Asia. The strait is in international waters, however, China claims Taiwan as its own territory.
The text, which also addresses a range of other aspects and recommendations related to EU-Taiwan relations, will now be submitted to a vote in plenary. It was approved by 60 votes in favour, 4 against with 6 abstentions. (ANI)