China snaps: EU issued brutal warning as von der Leyens Taiwan meddling backfires

China would ‘swallow up Taiwan if they could’ says Wang Ting-Yu

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The European Parliament’s first official delegation to Taiwan on Thursday offered a message of solidarity to the diplomatically isolated island, as well as calling for bolder actions to strengthen EU-Taiwan ties as Taipei faces rising pressure from Beijing. But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin was swift to respond, warning Europe against sending “wrong signals” to separatist forces in Taiwan, which China sees as part of its territory.

Wang further urged the EU, led by European Commission President Ms von der Leyen, to correct its mistake in a pointed rebuke.

Taiwan, which does not have formal diplomatic ties with any European nations except tiny Vatican City, is keen to deepen relations with members of the European Union.

The visit comes at a time when China has ramped up military pressure, including repeated missions by Chinese warplanes near democratic Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own and has not ruled out taking by force.

Raphael Glucksmann, a French member of the European Parliament, told Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen in a meeting broadcast live on Facebook:

“We came here with a very simple, very clear message: You are not alone.

“Europe is standing with you.”

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Mr Glucksmann, who is leading the delegation, stressed: “Our visit should be considered as an important first step.

“But next we need a very concrete agenda of high-level meetings and high-level concrete steps together to build a much stronger EU-Taiwan partnership.”

The three-day visit, organised by a committee of the European Parliament on foreign interference in democratic processes, will include exchanges with Taiwanese officials on threats such as disinformation and cyber attacks.

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Tsai has warned of increasing Chinese efforts to gain influence in Taiwan, asking security agencies to counter infiltration efforts.

She told the delegation in the Presidential Office: “We hope to establish a democratic alliance against disinformation.

“We believe Taiwan and the EU can certainly continue strengthening our partnership in all domains.”

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu made a rare trip to Europe last month which angered Beijing, which at the time warned the host countries against undermining relations with China.

Fearing retaliation from Beijing, most countries are unwilling to host senior Taiwanese ministers or send high-level officials to the autonomous island.

Last month, the European Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution to deepen ties with Taiwan, with steps such as looking into an investment agreement.

China’s claim over Taiwan, population 23.5millon, is in accordance with its so-called One China policy.

Tensions have been steadily rising in recent years, especially after former US President Donald Trump sent two high-ranking diplomats there.

Experts fear China would invade the island were Taiwan ever to make an official declaration of independence.

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