Brussels (Brussels Morning) Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen has said she hopes that economic cooperation with the EU will improve once France takes over the rotating presidency.
Speaking to French MPs who attended a meeting with her in Taipei on Thursday, she pointed out that Taiwan would like to see progress on trade talks with the bloc next year, Reuters reported.
Democracies must cooperate in the face of authoritarianism, she stressed, hinting at China’s ambitions to expand its control.
Taiwan has been working to improve its relations with other Western countries as the Chinese Communist Party lays claim to the island and increases diplomatic and military pressure on the country.
Talks shelved since 2015
While the EU placed Taiwan on the list of trade partners for a potential signing of a bilateral trade agreement in 2015, the bloc has failed to move the issue forward in talks with the country since then.
In September this year, the EU decided to pursue the trade deal again as part of its strategy to counter China’s rise and strengthen its influence in the Indo-Pacific.
“We hope the EU, under the leadership of France, can continue to promote Taiwan and the EU’s negotiation of a bilateral investment agreement, or BIA, to open a new cooperative relationship between Taiwan and the EU”, President Tsai stressed.
Addressing the group of French MPs, she cited how France would be taking over the EU’s rotating presidency next year. In addressing the France-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group headed by François de Rugy, Tsai did not explicitly talk about China.
“In the face of a rapidly changing international situation and the continued spread of authoritarianism, democratic partners should even more join hands together in cooperation”, she asserted.
“Taiwan will fulfil its international responsibilities and looks forward to working with France and EU partners with similar ideals to make more contributions to the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific region”, she con cludedThe French delegation visited Taiwan as China has been ramping up pressure on EU member state Lithuania over its decision to allow the opening of the first de facto embassy of Taiwan in Europe in the last two decades or so.