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Taiwan Strait: Top EU Diplomat Calls For European Navy Patrols

European navies should patrol the disputed Taiwan Strait, the EU foreign policy chief has said, echoing earlier comments stressing how crucial Taiwan is to Europe.

Josep Borrell wrote in an opinion piece in the Journal Du Dimanche that Taiwan “concerns us 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,” he wrote.

Two weeks ago, China launched three days of military exercises around Taiwan – simulating targeted strikes and a blockade of the island – in response to a meeting between the Taiwanese president, Tsai Ing-wen, and the US House speaker, Kevin McCarthy.

On Tuesday, in a speech opening a debate on China at the European parliament, Borrell said: “Taiwan is clearly part of our geostrategic perimeter to guarantee peace.

“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.”

Borrell’s comments come after the French president, Emmanuel Macron, this month argued that Europe should not be a “follower” of the US in the event of conflict with China over Taiwan.

Macron’s comments, after a visit to China, sparked criticism from some politicians in both the US and inside the EU.

China claims Taiwan as its territory and has vowed to one day bring the island under its control. But Taiwan has never been controlled by the Communist party government of mainland China.

Meanwhile, Guatemala’s president, Alejandro Giammattei, left on Saturday for a visit to Taiwan as the island looks to shore up its diplomatic links with Latin American countries.

“We are going to Taiwan to send the world too the clear message that countries have a right to self-governance,” Giammattei said in a video posted online.

During his visit from Monday to Thursday, Giammattei is scheduled to address the congress of Taiwan and visit a technology company in Taichung, south of Taipei. He is due to attend an event promoting Guatemalan coffee, according to the Taiwanese president’s office.

Giammattei announced the trip two weeks after he welcomed Tsai in Guatemala City, where she promised continued assistance for “democratic partners”. The Taiwanese president then travelled to neighbouring Belize, the only other Central American country to retain diplomatic ties with Taiwan since Honduras shifted its allegiance to China in March.

With Agence France-Presse

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