Friday, 02 June, 2023


‘Vile’: China threatens European Union over vote in support of Taiwan

European Union legislators voted overwhelmingly in favor of trade talks with Taiwan and other measures flouting China’s claims to sovereignty over the island, leaving officials in Beijing fuming at the display of tension between Western democracies and the communist regime.

“It is vile in nature and has an egregious impact,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Thursday. “A word for the relevant side: Do not underestimate the Chinese people’s determination, will, and capacity to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”


China’s relationship with the European Parliament has soured in recent months, as European condemnation of China’s atrocities against Uyghur Muslims resulted in a trans-Atlantic move to impose sanctions on EU and British lawmakers. China hawks in the European Parliament countered by freezing a major EU-China investment deal, a rebuke compounded Thursday with the endorsement of trade talks and a proposal to rebound the “European Economic and Trade Office in Taiwan” as the “European Union in Taiwan” — a loaded name change, given China’s hostility to any sign of political engagement between Taiwan and other governments.

“If the European Union would make such a step, it would be a really big deal, but I doubt it would be possible,” a Baltic official told the Washington Examiner after the vote. The official added, “It reflects the thinking of many European politicians, so that’s a very serious signal.”

China has turned trade relationships to geopolitical advantage in a number of ways, not least of which has been to impede transatlantic unity on issues that U.S. leaders and Western intelligence official regard as security threats from Beijing. Chinese officials have sustained some setbacks in recent years, even before their censorship of early pandemic warnings provoked global outrage, which has enhanced the European desire for good relations with Taiwan.

That interest was reflected in the proposal to abandon the “economic and trade” terms in the current office’s name.

“Countries usually have an economic office, which shows that they have no intentions of any kind of political relations with Taiwan,” the Baltic official said, noting that even cities can have international trade offices. “For China, if the European Union has an office — not a trade office, but a European Union office — that means that the European Union elevates those relations to the political level. That’s a red line for China.”

Wang, the Chinese foreign ministry official, implied that deference to Beijing’s claims of sovereignty over the island, a democratic society that the Chinese Communist regime has never ruled, is “the political foundation of China-EU relations.”

Credit: Yahoo News


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