EU calls for cross-strait dialogue after Chinese jet incursion

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TAIPEI (CNA) – The European Union called on China and Taiwan yesterday to restart bilateral dialogue and avoid actions and words that may increase tension across the Taiwan Strait after China sent fighter jets across the median line of the strait Sunday in what Taiwan called a “reckless and provocative” move.

Two Chinese fighters crossed the tacitly understood line dividing the strait and entered Taiwan’s southwestern airspace at about 11 a.m. Sunday before retreating to the western side of the median line after Taiwan’s Air Force scrambled several fighter jets to intercept the two planes.

Commenting on the move by Beijing, an EU spokesperson said that the EU has a strong interest in peace and security in Asia.

“Tension in the Far East can only have a negative impact on our own security, as well as on our trade and our economies, including the flourishing trade between China and Taiwan,” the spokesperson said.

“Both sides must avoid actions and words that may increase tension around the strait. Instead, we look to China and Taiwan to engage constructively with one another and to restart dialogue. We are willing to support all initiatives aimed at promoting dialogue, cooperation and confidence-building between the two sides,” the spokesperson added.

In addition to the EU, the U.S. Department of State and Department of Defense also issued statements reiterating the U.S. government’s opposition to any unilateral actions by any party aimed at altering the status quo across the strait, including by force or any other form of coercion.

Also, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga expressed hope that cross-strait issues can be resolved peacefully through direct dialogue between Taiwan and China.

By Elaine Hou and Evelyn Kao