Borrell: China’s threats to Taiwan pose risk to EU

Borrell says microchips like those produced on Taiwan are indispensable to the EU's digital development.

Borrell: China’s threats to Taiwan pose risk to EU

The EU’s foreign policy chief has sharply ramped up the bloc’s rhetoric on Taiwan by saying China’s threats to the self-ruling island “may have a direct impact on European security” — partly because Taipei’s microchips are “indispensable” to Europe’s digital development.

In his most comprehensive policy speech yet on Taiwan — which China considers its own territory — Josep Borrell late on Tuesday raised concern over Beijing’s escalating military activities in the Taiwan Strait. Some 150 Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwan’s airspace between the national days in Beijing and Taipei, both in early October.

The speech — which marks an end of the EU’s usual diplomatic reserve over the sensitive issue of Taiwan — came just days after Chinese President Xi Jinping told European Council President Charles Michel China will “resolutely safeguard its own sovereignty,” a veiled reference to the EU’s expression of concern over Taiwan during the conversation.

“China has stepped up its pressure on Taiwan and its military presence in the Strait,” according to the speech, which was delivered by European Commission’s Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager in the European Parliament. “We have seen repeated incursions of Chinese planes across the median line and in Taiwan’s air defense identification zone. These displays of force may have a direct impact on European security and prosperity.”

“We, Europeans, have an interest in preserving the status quo in the Taiwan Strait. The European Union encourages everyone to engage in a dialogue and avoid any unilateral actions that may increase tensions around the Strait,” the speech added.

One particular area of concern for the EU is semiconductors, the most advanced type of which is produced predominantly by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).

“We hope to see Taiwan as an important partner to achieve goals of the European Chips Act,” Borrell’s speech noted. “The European Union … wants to cooperate on strategic sectors like semiconductors, the new oil — as I think many call it — indispensable for EU’s industrial development and digital transition.”

For now, however, Taiwan is looking elsewhere for those partnerships. TSMC this month announced a major deal to open a chip plant in Japan.

Still, the EU’s chief diplomat was keen to stress Brussels still adhered to the One-China policy, meaning it wouldn’t recognize Taiwanese statehood — something Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen hasn’t declared despite her party’s pro-independence stance.

Borrell’s speech nonetheless highlighted Taiwan as a “like-minded partner” while the government on the other side of the strait remains a “systemic rival.”

The EU, he said, “will continue supporting its [Taiwan’s] system of governance based on democracy, the rule of law and human rights, its open society and market economy.”

He also directly criticized Beijing’s diplomatic and economic pressure on Lithuania, whose decision to accept a new “Taiwanese Representative Office” has upset China and resulted in the recalling of ambassadors.

“Lithuania and all member states that find themselves coerced for taking decisions that China finds offensive, they need support and they need our solidarity,” he said. “The European Union will continue pushing back these attempts and adopt appropriate tools, such as the anti-coercion instrument currently under preparation.”

In the near term, the Czech Taiwanese Business Chamber said, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister, Joseph Wu, will be joining a Taiwanese business delegation on a visit to the Czech Republic starting this week.

Taiwanese media also reported Wu is considering visiting Rome on the sidelines of the G20 summit towards the end of the month. Beijing, which will send Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to attend the summit, is expected to react strongly if Wu’s trip is confirmed.

Source : Politico EU More   

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EU leaders to discuss Poland dispute at summit

European Council President Charles Michel has added the rule-of-law issue to the agenda.

EU leaders to discuss Poland dispute at summit

At their summit on Thursday, EU heads of state and government will discuss a deepening dispute between Brussels and Warsaw over Poland’s judiciary and a recent court ruling that declared primacy for the country’s constitution over EU treaties.

European Council President Charles Michel announced the addition to the summit agenda in his official invitation letter to leaders, which was published on Wednesday afternoon. Michel had not originally included the topic on the agenda, but added it after several EU leaders said they planned to bring it up during a dinner Thursday night. The Polish court ruling was widely viewed in Brussels as undermining the EU’s legal framework, but Polish officials insist it was merely guarding against EU overreach.

In the letter, Michel said leaders would first focus during the gathering on a recent spike in energy prices, followed by an assessment of the continuing coronavirus pandemic and vaccination efforts. The rule-of-law issue in Poland will follow those two items.

During the Thursday dinner, the leaders will discuss international trade, and on Friday they will have a follow-up discussion on migration policy, a topic that has long deadlocked EU leaders. The final topic will be digital policy, including cybersecurity, Michel said.

Source : Politico EU More   

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