Taiwan’s FM seeks ‘support from European friends’ in Prague

Taiwan’s top diplomat Joseph Wu holds meetings in Prague to improve relations with the EU, angering China.

Taiwan’s foreign minister Joseph Wu has visited the Czech capital Prague, calling for European support in securing peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait shared with China.

“In order for Taiwan to stay strong and resilient and to have the courage to continue the policy of maintaining the status quo, we do need support from European friends,” Wu said in a speech at a conference in Prague.

The foreign minister was in the European Union nation for a meeting with Milos Vystrcil, the President of the Czech Senate, who has been trying to foster the republic’s relations with Taiwan over the past few years.

The Czech Republic has no diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

The country’s centre-right government in power since 2021 and President Petr Pavel who took office in March have been keen on improving ties with Taipei after years of warming up to Beijing.

Wu is expected to travel to Brussels later on Wednesday to meet other EU officials, according to the Reuters news agency.

But Wu’s trip to Europe has angered China, with Beijing claiming Taiwan as its own territory.

Wang Lutong, China’s director-general for European affairs, said the Taiwan question is at the “core of the core interests of China”.

“We urge the European side not to provide stages for separatist activities for ‘Taiwan independence’,” he said in a tweet.

Taiwan has no formal diplomatic ties with any European country except the Vatican.

But it maintains extensive informal relations, and Central and Eastern European countries have been particularly keen to show support for Taiwan – especially following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

With respect to maintaining peace in the Taiwan Strait, some EU leaders have expressed their support. In April, the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told France’s Le Journal du Dimanche that EU nations should send warships to patrol the Taiwan Strait.

Last November, members of the European Parliament also backed a resolution that condemned China’s aggressions in the Taiwan Strait.

In an interview with Al Jazeera last month, Remus Li-Kuo Chen, head of the Taipei Representative Office in the EU and Belgium, said that in recent years, there has been positive momentum in Taiwan’s relations with the EU, especially against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine and a post-pandemic economy era.

He added that a strong transatlantic partnership between the EU and the United States will also benefit Taiwan.

“To ensure there is peace in the Taiwan Strait, unity between Europe and the US is needed, and while both have been proactive in showing their support to Taiwan, differences in how they display solidarity [do] exist,” he said.“But they’re aware that a collective and integrated approach is what will send a powerful message of deterrence to China,” he added.

Source: Aljazeera