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EU lawmakers sanctioned by Beijing must travel to Taiwan – POLITICO


TAIPEI — A group of eight European lawmakers, including two sanctioned by Beijing, are expected to arrive in Taiwan on Tuesday amid renewed geopolitical uncertainty following a summit by China’s ruling party.

Trade, investment and technology are the focus of the delegation, which includes Reinhard Bütikofer, chair of the European Parliament’s delegation on relations with China, as well as Sjoerd Sjoerdsma, a Dutch lawmaker. Both have been on Beijing’s blacklist since early last year.

“This is a visit with very practical ambitions. We will return from Taiwan with an even clearer picture of what needs to be done in our respective legislatures, and we will not rest until we reach them.” , Bütikofer, who leads the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance’s delegation on China, told POLITICO.

Among the Taiwanese officials they will meet will be President Tsai Ing-wen.

Europeans’ concern about Taiwan has grown in recent months after Beijing launched military exercises around the island this summer when US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited self-governing island against Beijing’s warning. China’s strategic collaboration with Russia has also heightened European skepticism as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine continues.

Beijing has also threatened to “reunify” Taiwan by force if necessary, with Chinese President Xi Jinping renewing his stance at the just-concluded Communist Party congress.

Ukrainian parliamentarian Mykola Kniazhytskyi, another member of the group visiting Taipei, sees similarities between his country and Taiwan.

“Ukraine and Taiwan have a lot in common,” he said. “Global democracies – and especially Germany – are struggling to learn the lessons of the past. I will highlight how reliance on Russia has plunged us and the world into a major crisis. We are sleepwalking in the same with Taiwan”, said Kniazhytsky.

German, Czech, British, Belgian and Kosovar lawmakers will also be on the trip, as Taiwan is keen to pursue parliamentary diplomacy while most Western officials refrain from government-level visits, due to their promises of “one China” with Beijing.

The EU’s foreign policy arm, the European External Action Service, recently released a new internal document calling on member countries to work on “de-escalation and deterrence” with Beijing, in hopes of avoiding a Chinese military invasion of Taiwan. Part of the concern stems from the fact that Taiwan accounts for nearly 90% of the most advanced microchips supplied to European companies and manufacturers.

US officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, have warned in recent weeks that China is “accelerating” plans to use force against Taiwan “in a much faster time frame” than expected. Until recently, Washington assumed such a scenario would not occur until 2027.

“So when we’re talking about the 2027 window, in my mind it has to be a 2022 window or potentially a 2023 window. I can’t rule that out,” said senior US Navy officer Admiral Michael Gilday. , earlier this month.

This article is part of POLITICO Pro

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