la UE manda callar a su embajador, español, en Beijing
EXCUSE ME, AMBASSADOR? Comments by the EU’s incoming ambassador to China have provoked fury in Taiwan, after the Spanish diplomat expressed support for Taiwan’s “peaceful reunification” with China. Jorge Toledo made the comments to Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia at the weekend, with the EU now stopping him from giving further interviews before he starts the job in September.
TAIPEI’S VIP: Nonetheless, Taiwan is still feeling the love from senior figures in the EU. European Parliament Vice President Nicola Beer just wrapped up a tour to Taiwan, becoming the highest-ranking member of the institution to have paid an official visit to the island. In an interview with POLITICO’s Stuart Lau, Beer called on the European Commission to speed up work toward an investment agreement with Taiwan.
Democracy club: “It’s really the right moment to come to Taipei now, and make visible that we really, as democracies, stand shoulder by shoulder … and to make clear to China that, yes, we want to have good relations with them, but for us, it’s also clear that the Taiwanese people are those who have to decide on their future,” said Beer, a member of Germany’s FDP party and the Renew Group in the Parliament.
Beer also criticized Toledo’s remarks: “I think this is not only not the position of the European Parliament, but also not of the European Union,” she said.
Beijing not happy: As previously reported in Playbook, Beijing has been enraged by the European Parliament’s outreach to Taiwan, which Beijing considers part of China. And Beer is not the only political figure to pay a visit to the island: Former U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper is due there this week, Stuart reports. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is also understood to be considering a trip later this year. But in a signal of the political sensitivities surrounding the issue, President Joe Biden publicly rebuked the leading Democrat this week, saying that the U.S. military does not think it’s a good idea to visit.