European Parliament supports EU engagement with Taiwan: Taiwan official

Harry Tseng, right, Taiwan’s representative to the EU and Belgium, expresses gratitude for the European Parliament’s mention and support of Taiwan as it continued to define the EU’s relationship with ASEAN while speaking to CNA on Sept. 30. (CNA)

Brussels (CNA) – The European Parliament highlighted the need to engage with observers, including Taiwan, at the multilateral level in a resolution passed Tuesday on the European Union’s political relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Speaking with CNA Wednesday, Harry Tseng (曾厚仁), Taiwan’s representative to the EU and Belgium, expressed gratitude for the European Parliament’s mention and support of Taiwan as it continued to define the EU’s relationship with ASEAN.

One of the key articles in the resolution states that the parliament “highlights the need to engage at the multilateral level with other jurisdictions in the region, such as ASEAN observers Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste, as well as China, Japan and Taiwan.” The resolution, which primarily serves to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of EU-ASEAN Dialogue Relations, highlights the importance of peace in the South China Sea, an issue about which Taiwan cares deeply.

According to the resolution, which passed with 543 votes in favor, 66 against, and 46 abstentions, the European Parliament encourages all parties to abide by the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The statement addresses not only ASEAN, which is made up of the Philippines, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia, but also those involved in the South China Sea dispute such as China and Taiwan.

This follows a wide list of precedents in which the European Parliament — the directly elected legislative body of the EU — has supported Taiwan’s involvement in international organizations and dialogue, such as Taiwan’s participation in the International Civil Aviation Organization and its signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement with the EU. 

By Tang Pei-chun and Kuan-lin Liu