European Parliament Delegation in Taipei: Europe is with Taiwan
Taiwan's democracy is a "treasure" that must be protected, French MEP Rafael Glucksmann was quoted as saying by AFP.
Glucksman, who heads a European Parliament delegation in Taipei, assured that support for the island will continue, amid growing tensions with China.
This is the first "official delegation" of the EP to visit Taiwan. In March, China imposed sanctions on Glucksman and four other MEPs.
Today, the Frenchman called Taiwan's democracy "a treasure that all Democrats around the world must value and protect."
"And we came here with a very simple, very clear message: you are not alone," MEP Tsai Yingwen said at a meeting with Taiwanese President. "Europe stands by your side in defense of freedom, the rule of law and human dignity," he continued, calling on the EU to step up co-operation with the island. "It is high time for us in the European Union to show that we are in the same boat, then we need to develop a very concrete agenda for summits and concrete high-level measures to build together a much stronger partnership between The EU and Taiwan," the MEP said.
A Chinese mission in Brussels recently warned that a possible visit by MEPs to Taiwan "would harm China's core interests and compromise the favorable development of China-EU relations."
Beijing reacted sharply last month after a visit by a group of French senators to Taiwan, as well as after visits by Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu to Slovakia and the Czech Republic, AFP recalls.
Relations between China and Taiwan have deteriorated sharply since the election of President Tsai in 2016 - she sees the island as sovereign, not part of the People's Republic of China.
Taiwan recently warned that tensions with Beijing in the military sphere are at their highest level in 40 years, as Chinese fighter jets have recently begun to enter Taiwan's airspace for identification more frequently, AFP notes.
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