Taiwan Government and International – November 2021

U.S. Pushes For Taiwan Role In UN

The U.S. has urged UN member states to find ways to include Taiwan as a participant in the UN system. On October 26, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken released a statement lamenting the exclusion of Taiwan’s expertise from such UN-affiliated bodies as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the World Health Assembly (WHA). Blinken stated that Taiwan’s technical and civil service experts “are blocked from entry and participating” in these organizations “simply because of the passports they hold.”

The statement concluded by calling for Taiwan’s “robust meaningful participation in UN institutions,” adding that such a proposal was consistent with the U.S.’ One China policy. Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) both welcomed Blinken’s statement. A few days earlier, on October 22, officials from Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) met virtually with State Department counterparts to discuss how Taiwan could contribute to UN-related programs.

Beijing expressed displeasure with the renewed efforts of the U.S. and Taiwan to increase the island’s international space through UN participation. In comments to reporters regarding the October 22 meeting, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin framed the discussions as expanding “the room for Taiwan independence and separatism,” which he said “will only prove a failure.”

EU Pursues Deeper Ties with Taiwan

The European Parliament, in a 580-26 vote, on October 21 approved a resolution signaling strong support for Taiwan. The resolution made 35 recommendations, including calls for the EU to initiate work on a bilateral investment agreement, rename the title of its Taiwan office from the “European Economic and Trade Office in Taiwan” to the more expansive “European Office in Taiwan,” and advocate for Taiwan’s participation in the WHO, Interpol, and other international agencies.

The report expressed concern about China’s imposing a draconian National Security Law in Hong Kong and implementing economic sanctions on Lithuania for strengthening its ties to Taiwan, and for what it called China’s “military belligerence against Taiwan.”

Although the resolution is nonbinding and its recommendations are broad in scope, the vote sends a strong signal that Taiwan is an important component of EU policy. It was the European Parliament’s first resolution on Taiwan.

In the first week of November, a delegation of seven Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) traveledto Taiwan to meet with senior government officials such as Minister without Portfolio Audrey Tang.

Taiwan Ministers Visit Central, Eastern Europe

Two senior officials from Taiwan made rare public visits to the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Lithuania in late October. Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and National Development Council Minister Kung Ming-hsin led separate delegations that visited the European countries at different times.

During the visits, Taiwan and Lithuanian officials signed six MOUs for cooperation on a spate of topics, including laser technology, electric vehicle development, and information and communications technology. They also discussed ways to increase mutual investment and exports, including the possibility of a Taiwan semiconductor plant in Lithuania.

Taiwan signed a further seven MOUs with Slovakia that covered cooperation between the two governments on trade and technology. Sixty manufacturers from both countries conducted over 160 meetings on specific projects for collaboration.

Taiwan and the Czech Republic signed five MOUs that expanded cooperation on cybersecurity, space, biochemistry, green energy, and AI technology. Foreign minister Wu also discussed ways to increase educational exchanges between the two societies. On October 27, the Czech Senate presented Wu with its prestigious silver medal.

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