Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief | Stephanie Lecocq/EPA
By Stuart Lau
September 24, 2021 4:45 pm
The EU’s foreign policy chief is expected to tell the Chinese foreign minister on Tuesday that Europe will not be dissuaded from deepening ties with Taiwan, EU officials told POLITICO.
Josep Borrell’s strategic dialogue with Wang Yi, scheduled for Tuesday, comes amid moves by Beijing to pile economic and diplomatic pressure on Lithuania, an EU member country, over its decision to open a representative office in Taipei, and Taiwan’s plan to set up a similar mission in Vilnius.
“Borrell is going to draw reference to the ‘One-China policy’ but also reaffirm the EU’s and member states’ interests to develop relations and cooperation with Taiwan,” an official with knowledge of the preparations for the talks said.
“Defense of the Lithuanian decision,” will also be conveyed to Beijing, another official added.
Apart from Taiwan-related issues, Borrell will also raise other “difficult points” such as human rights, sanctions and cyberattacks, one of the officials said.
Borrell’s talks with Wang will come days after U.S. President Joe Biden meets on Friday with his fellow “Quad” leaders from Australia, India and Japan. The security format is widely regarded as a bid to confront China’s growing military assertiveness.
The EU has insisted on the strategic importance of the U.S. even after France expressed fury over a new trilateral security pact between the U.S., the U.K., and Australia, which resulted in Canberra tearing up a lucrative submarine deal with Paris.
Borrell’s talks with his Chinese counterpart will come in the same week that two top officials of the European Commission will travel to the U.S. for the launch of the transatlantic Trade and Tech Council. With topics ranging from AI to state-owned enterprises, it is seen as a transatlantic effort to tackle issues posed by the rise of China.