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Jose Maria Liu, representative of Taiwan in Spain: “We must stop China’s hegemonic expansion”

Although Spain does not recognize Taiwan and suspended diplomatic relations with the island in 1973, Taiwan maintains a Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Spain that conducts bilateral relations and performs representative tasks. The office is headed by Jose Maria Liu, who took office in November 2018. The representative of Taiwan is present in Spain fresh milk and discuss tensions with China, the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and relations with Spain.

How do you interpret China’s response to Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to Taiwan?

China’s usual threat to Taiwan is now on the rise, following a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to hold live-fire military exercises in six areas around Taiwan. These reprisals, in addition to alienating the island from Taiwan, have had serious implications for international trade and the rules-based international order.

This is something we are unfortunately used to, having already experienced around 1,000 incursions by Chinese warplanes last year and over 600 so far this year, to be added to China’s continued efforts to block Taiwan’s international participation. The crackdown ranges from military and diplomatic to economic, as the Chinese government announced an import ban on hundreds of products from many food companies in Taiwan.

All this is another proof of Beijing’s dictatorial attitude and its usual threats towards Taiwan, with which it tries to undermine peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. It also shows that the international community must realize that China’s hegemonic expansion must be stopped.

Are you satisfied with what Nancy Pelosi’s visit meant to Taiwan?

In Taiwan, we always open our doors to welcome visitors from friendly countries such as the United States, our strategic partner. And even more so in the case of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who has insisted that the United States continues to oppose any unilateral attempt to replace status quo on the Taiwan Strait and stressed that “United States solidarity with Taiwan is more important than ever at a time when the world is divided between autocracy and democracy.”

A third US official, Nancy Pelosi, said after her arrival in Taiwan that the US delegation’s visit “honors the unwavering commitment of the United States to support Taiwan’s strong democracy”. Pelosi insisted that the U.S. “will not abandon Taiwan” and is proud of the “long-standing friendship” between the two countries, stressing that talks with Taiwanese leaders reaffirm U.S. support for Taiwan and promote “common interests, including the development of free countries.” “. and open up the Indo-Pacific region”.

Pelosi affirms that the United States will fully support Taiwan and encourages other world leaders to visit Taiwan. This is a clear commitment to the international community for the unity that democracies must show in the face of the dependence of hegemonic powers such as China.

How do you think the Taiwan Strait conflict will affect the world economy?

Taiwan has become a major global supplier and a key part of the chip supply chain worldwide, as it now accounts for 63% of the global chip market. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), Taiwan’s only technology giant, has 54% of the global chip market and 92% of the most advanced chip market.

Our President Tsai Ing-wen has always been adamant that not defending Taiwan against the Chinese threat would not only be disastrous for the Taiwanese people, but would also mean the end of the security architecture that has enabled peace and extraordinary economic development in the region. for seven decades. In the words of our president, “If Taiwan were to fall, the consequences would be catastrophic for regional peace and the system of democratic alliances, disrupting international trade and destabilizing the entire Western Pacific.”

Can Taiwan count on US support in the event of a Chinese invasion?

Definitely yes. During the last video conference between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping on July 28, the fifth between the two, the US president reiterated that the US policy on Taiwan has not changed and that the United States strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status. quo or undermine peace and stability on the Taiwan Strait.

Our government appreciates that since taking office, President Biden has repeatedly emphasized that the US commitment to Taiwan is “solid as a rock” and that he attaches such importance to maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

How are the relations between Spain and Taiwan today? After arriving in Spain, are you satisfied with the outcome of your mission?

I can feel satisfied with the results because Taiwan and Spain share such values ​​as freedom, democracy and respect for human rights. From a political point of view, Spain adheres to the guidelines set by the European Union in relation to Taiwan. Economically, our bilateral trade is growing and in 2021 it was 2,491 million USD. We are trying to balance the 734 million surplus in favor of Taiwan by exporting Spain’s agri-food sector, especially “star products” from Spain, such as pork, of which Spain is the main supplier; olive oil, our second supplier; And wine, our sixth supplier.

Since coming to Spain, my mission has been for both peoples to get to know each other more deeply, and for that we need the support of the media to promote the exchange of our enormous potential and cultural wealth. We do this through our scholarship program, which offers Spanish students the opportunity to study Mandarin Chinese, earn bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at our universities, and professors and researchers to carry out research projects in Taiwan.

What kind of historical ties do Spain have with Taiwan?

Few people know that, for example, there is a very important historical relationship between Spain and Taiwan. Just this June, the most important Spanish archaeological settlement in Taiwan opened its doors to the public, containing the remains of the 17th-century Spanish presence. It is a settlement on Heping Island in Keelung City, Northern Taiwan, where the old San Salvador Fort and the remains of All Saints Church, a Spanish colonial building, have been discovered. in Taiwan (1626-1642).

Thanks to research on old maps of the time, the existence of this settlement was discovered, and Taiwan and Spain launched a major research project to uncover the main archaeological remains of the Spanish colonial era in Taiwan. The Spanish sought to strengthen their position of superiority in world trade from the north of Taiwan. In addition to their interest in maritime trade, they promoted Catholicism from the Iberian Peninsula to Asia. Even today, there is a significant percentage of practicing Catholics in Taiwan, among whom I am honored to name myself.

What does Taiwan expect from the EU and the rest of the international community?

The European Parliament has always shown and especially recently a clear and strong support for Taiwan, passing a total of 13 resolutions in favor of Taiwan in 2021. This year, seven resolutions were passed along the same lines, showing their concern for maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

In addition, during a recent visit to Taiwan on July 19-21, European Parliament Vice President Nicola Ber spoke strongly about China’s threats against Taiwan, saying that “there is no place for Chinese aggression in a democratic Taiwan.” The Vice President regretted that Europe was late to Hong Kong and assured that “it will not be too late for Taiwan”, insisting that it is time for Europe to support Taiwan as we are both members of the “family of democracy”.

Following the recent events, the G7 and the EU reaffirmed their “shared commitment” to uphold the rules-based international order as well as “peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait” in a joint statement, stressing that there are no excuses. use the visit as a pretext for “aggressive military action” and call on China to stop military exercises.

Do you believe that the support of the European Parliament will continue for Taiwan’s participation in the next meetings of international organizations, from which Taiwan has been excluded so far?

We believe it will. In fact, on July 6, the European Parliament approved a report on the protection of the European Union and multilateralism, the seventh this year in favor of Taiwan, in which it supports the important participation of Taiwan as an observer in meetings, mechanisms. and the activities of international organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). We will continue to actively cooperate with European countries on the basis of common values ​​such as democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), for example, will hold an assembly in September. What are the consequences of Taiwan’s absence?

Taiwan is an integral part of the global aviation network and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) cannot be ignored. Taoyuan International Airport, the largest in Taiwan, was the fourth busiest airport in the world in 2020 by international air cargo. Despite the severe impact of the pandemic, air freight has increased by 26% since 2019 to reach 2.92 million tons in 2021 in Taiwan.

Before the pandemic, the Taipei Flight tion Region served more than 1.85 million controlled flights and approximately 72 million travelers arriving, departing or transiting through Taiwan. However, Taiwan has been excluded from ICAO since 1971 for political reasons. To promote the recovery of civil aviation after the COVID-19 pandemic, “Reconnecting the World” will be the theme of the 41st ICAO Assembly being held in Montreal, Canada from 27 September to 7 October. We call on the international community to support Taiwan’s meaningful participation in ICAO to truly achieve the reconnection of the world and the reconnection of Taiwan in this new post-pandemic era.

Source: El Diario



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