EU-Taiwan Ties in a New Reality: Time for an Upgrade

“To preserve peace, stability, and the status quo in the Taiwan Strait is key, not just for the security and prosperity of the region, but also for ours”, the EU’s High Representative Josep Borrell said in his address to the European Parliament in September 2022. This marked a year since the EP adopted its first stand-alone report on EU-Taiwan political relations and cooperation, raising key European concerns about the situation in the Taiwan Strait, including security, peace and stability, and threats to the rules-based international order. The resolution urged the bloc to intensify bilateral relations and “pursue a comprehensive and enhanced partnership under the guidance of the EU’s One China Policy”.

These developments capture the new reality in EU-Taiwan relations, marked by an unprecedented level of European awareness of Taiwan’s strategic relevance to the bloc’s interests, seen in the context of efforts to rebalance relationswithChina. With the central balance of international power shifting from the Euro-Atlantic to the Indo-Pacific, and with the US-China rivalry intensifying, Taiwan’s relevance has recently increased. In light of China’s support for Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, Taiwan’s importance as a frontline democracy has also grown. Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s warning “Ukraine today may be East Asia tomorrow”, was a sign that regional states in the Indo-Pacific are reassessing their defence positions.

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