Chinese aggression towards Taiwan is responsible for driving Europe towards the self-ruled island, said a European lawmaker who was part of a delegation that visited Taipei last week. Raphael Glucksmann, chair of the European Parliament’s Special Committee on Foreign Interference, said that the delegation’s visit was intended to send a message to the world that “all political forces in Europe have acknowledged the importance of engaging with Taiwan,” Taiwan News reported. The French politician lauded Taiwan for its collective response to the Chinese disinformation campaign by incorporating think tanks, NGOs, and the media.
Asked how the European Union stands to benefit from its shift to a more assertive backing of Taiwan, Glucksmann said aligning with democracies against authoritarianism is not only in the interest of the EU but also a matter of principle. “China’s aspiration goes beyond Taiwan only, and the failure to take action will only feed its growing ambitions,” he argued.
The seven-member delegation, representing the political groups of the Parliament, will meet President of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen, the premier of the Executive Yuan, minister of mainland affairs, as well as the deputy Foreign Affairs Minister and the Speaker of the Legislative Yuan (Taiwanese Parliament). During a meeting with Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang on Wednesday, INGE Chair and delegation head Raphael Glucksmann said that the “flourishing of your democracy is formidable.”The world does not understand “how difficult and how courageous” it is to build a democracy while being threatened by an authoritarian regime like Beijing, Glucksmann was quoted as saying by Taiwan Focus. The visit serves the additional purpose of expressing Europe’s gratitude to Taiwan for its donation of surgical face masks and mask production lines in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Glucksmann said.
This meeting comes amid increasing Chinese military activities near the island in recent times. Recently, Taiwan has been witnessing an increase in incursions as Beijing claims full sovereignty over the democratic island. Back in October, Taiwanese Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng had said that Beijing might consider mounting a full-scale invasion of the island by 2025. The delegation is scheduled to stay in Taiwan until Friday. China has condemned the EU’s actions, saying the European Parliament has undermined “China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” through its support for closer engagement with Taiwan.