European delegation makes first official visit to Taiwan
Members of the European Union made their first official visit to Taiwan on Wednesday as tensions between Taiwan and China continue to grow.
The EU sent 13 lawmakers from the committee on foreign interference in democratic processes to Taiwan, The Associated Press reported. Raphaël Glucksmann, a French member of the committee, was in charge of the delegation.
“The flourishing of your democracy is formidable and this is why we are so happy to be here,” Glucksmann said. “You have shown that in this region democracy can flourish and that authoritarian regimes are not the future.”
Taiwan, a democratically run island, has been at odds with China, which claims the island as its own territory.
China has not ruled out taking Taiwan by force, while Taiwan said it is prepared to defend itself from an attack.
“Our visit shows how Taiwan now is very high in the agenda in Brussels and in every member state,” Glucksmann added, calling Taiwan “a laboratory and a hub for the fight against foreign interference and the preservation of democracy,” Reuters reported.
The delegation met with Taiwanese Premier Su Tseng-chang and will meet with President Tsai Ing-wen and Digital Minister Audrey Tang.
“Although we are geographically very far away, between our two sides, we share the same values, such as freedom, democracy, human rights and rule of law. … In those regards, we are actually very close,” Su said.
The visit comes as China has been sending warplanes into the island’s air defense identification zone and follows a recent announcement from Taipei that the country is increasing training for reserve forces.
The U.S. has also signaled it will ensure Taiwan is able to defend itself from any attacks.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated the U.S. remains “committed, resolutely committed, to our responsibilities under the Taiwan Relations Act, including making sure that Taiwan has the ability to defend itself from any aggression.”