FILE – In this Aug. 27, 2021, file photo provided by U.S. Coast Guard, Legend-class U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter Munro (WMSL 755) transits the Taiwan Strait during a routine transit with Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100)InternationalIndiaAfricaOleg BurunovBorrell earlier dubbed Taiwan part of the EU’s “geostrategic belt” to maintain peace, adding that the island is also of importance to the bloc “in economic terms.”The EU’s High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell has urged the navies of the bloc’s member states to patrol the Taiwan Strait.In an article published in a French newspaper on Sunday, he stressed that Taiwan “concerns” the EU “economically, commercially and technologically.”“That’s why I call on European navies to patrol the Taiwan Strait to show Europe’s commitment to freedom of navigation in this absolutely crucial area,” the EU foreign policy chief pointed out.His opinion piece comes a few days after Borrell described Taiwan as “clearly part of our [the EU’s] geostrategic belt to ensure peace.”In an address to the European Parliament, he said, “It is not only for a moral reason that an action against Taiwan must necessarily be rejected. It is also because it would be, in economic terms, extremely serious for us, because Taiwan has a strategic role in the production of the most advanced semiconductors.”The comments followed French President Emmanuel Macron last week calling on the EU not to allow itself to be involved into the confrontation between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan, and wondering what interest Brussels would have in adapting the confrontation-minded “American rhythm” on the issue.He then went further noting that “being an ally” to Washington “does not mean being a vassal…does not mean that we don’t have the right to think for ourselves.” Paris, Macron emphasized, “supports the One China policy and the search for a peaceful resolution” to Taiwan tensions, and should not be “followers” of Washington’s “agenda.”In a separate development last week, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Beijing had slapped sanctions on US Congressman Michael McCaul, Chair of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, for violating the one-China principle while visiting Taiwan.McCaul has repeatedly “interfered in China’s internal affairs” and “impaired” the country’s “interests” with his words and deeds, the statement read.In particular, the ministry noted that on April 6, McCaul led a bipartisan delegation of US lawmakers to Taiwan, seriously violating the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-US joint communiques, thus “sending a wrong signal to Taiwan independence separatist forces.”The statement came after China conducted large-scale military exercises around Taiwan earlier this month in response to a previous meeting between Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in Simi Valley, California. The Chinese embassy in Washington voiced “deep concern and firm opposition” to the meeting, pledging retaliation.
This is the second time in less than a year that a US House speaker met with Tsai, causing increasing tensions between the US and China. In August 2022, Tsai met with McCarthy’s predecessor Nancy Pelosi when she traveled to Taipei. Beijing condemned that meeting and held military drills around the island in a show of strength.
The China-Taiwan tensions are also exacerbated by the US repeatedly sending warships and surveillance planes to the Taiwan Strait, with Beijing slamming such missions as provocations and portraying Washington as “a security risk creator in the region.” Although the US does not maintain formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, Washington has a representative office in Taipei and remains the island’s biggest supplier of military hardware.MilitaryReport: US to Sell Taiwan 400 Anti-Ship Harpoon Missiles to Repel Chinese ‘Invasion’17 April, 23:39 GMTTaiwan has been governed independently since 1949, when Taipei severed all ties with Beijing following the Chinese Civil War, in which the communist forces of Mao Zedong’s People’s Republic of China (PRC) defeated the Kuomintang nationalists and forced them to flee to the island. Beijing views the island as its breakaway province, while Taiwan — a territory with its own elected government — maintains that it is an autonomous country but stops short of declaring independence. Beijing opposes any official contacts of foreign states with Taipei and considers Chinese sovereignty over the island indisputable.