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2021.10.22 13:48

China pressures European Parliament as Lithuania, EU build ties with Taiwan

LRT.lt2021.10.22 13:48

As Lithuania and other EU member states build ties with Taiwan, China has been attempting to pressure the president of the European Parliament to derail a pro-Taipei report.

“I hope that you can leverage your role to enable the European Parliament to fully appreciate the seriousness and sensitivity of the Taiwan issue,” Chinese ambassador to the European Union Zhang Ming wrote in a letter, dated August 31 and addressed to European Parliament President David Maria Sassoli.

This came as the MEPs were drafting a non-binding report on Taiwan. On Thursday, they voted almost unanimously to adopt the paper, which has urged the European Commission to “urgently begin” preparations for a bilateral investment deal with Taiwan.

Beijing considers any international attempts to recognise the island nation, which it considers a breakaway province, to be its red line.

The letter, seen by the South China Morning Post, said there was “simply no room for compromise” and said the report would “constitute serious violations of the one-China principle as they exceed far beyond the scope of normal non-official economic and trade cooperation and cultural exchanges between the EU, its member states and Taiwan”.

Hungarian MEP Katalin Cseh, who acted as shadow rapporteur on the report, said the letter was “another reminder that China’s blatant disregard for democracy and democratic processes is very much our concern”.

Taiwanese officials and a business delegation are visiting the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Lithuania, which has recently drawn ire from China for building ties with the island nation. Beijing has now recalled its ambassador, while the Lithuanian envoy has also returned to Vilnius.

Read more: EU will push back attempts by China to coerce Lithuania, says chief diplomat

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