Shanghai, China, Nov 4 (EFE).- The head of the European Parliament’s first official delegation to Taiwan told its president on Thursday that the island is “not alone” in its defense of freedoms and democracy, official media reported.
The visit of the members of European Parliament (MEP) comes a week after President Tsai Ing-wen told CNN that the threat from Beijing is “growing every day.”
“We came here with a very simple and clear message: You are not alone. Europe is standing with you, by you, in the defense of freedom, rule of law,” Raphaël Glucksmann told Tsai during at meeting in the presidential office, Central News Agency (CNA) reported.
He added that Taiwan is a “vivid, enlightening” democracy and “a treasure that all democrats around the world should cherish and protect.”
Tsai said that Taipei hopes to establish a “democratic alliance against disinformation” around the world.
“Taiwan is also willing to share its experience in combating disinformation with our European friends. This will deepen our partnership and help safeguard the free and democratic way of life we enjoy,” she said, according to CNA.
The delegation, which arrived Wednesday, consists of seven members of the EP’s Special Committee on Foreign Interference in all Democratic Processes in the European Union, including Disinformation.
Also Wednesday, Glucksmann met with Premier Su Tseng-chang and indicated that the island’s experiences could be useful for Europe in learning how to deal with “interference from authoritarian regimes.”
The MEP praised the “courage” of Taiwan for its transition to democracy amid conflict with Beijing, which claims sovereignty over the island and aims to “reunify” it with the mainland.
The delegation also met with the island’s Mainland Affairs Council chief Chiu Tai-san to discuss disinformation campaigns.
Foreign Minister Joseph Wu also held a videoconference with the MEPs, after which he expressed optimism about exchanging views on “how to fight foreign influence, disinformation & hybrid warfare,” he wrote on the foreign ministry’s Twitter account.
“Taiwan is ready to partner with the EU to defend democracy,” he added.
The delegation also held a meeting with Taiwanese NGOs, fact-checkers and European think tanks based in Taipei.
Meanwhile, the Chinese state newspaper Global Times assured that the visit is a “provocation” on the part of “radical” MEPs who “harbor malice and prejudice against China.”
“The European Parliament has increasingly become an accomplice of the US in flaring up the Taiwan question and escalating tensions,” it said.
Glucksmann is one of the MEPs sanctioned by Beijing in March in response to sanctions the EU imposed on four Chinese officials and one entity over human rights violations in Xinjiang, something that Beijing has repeatedly denied.
The exchange of sanctions caused the EP to freeze in May the ratification process of the investment agreement reached by the EU and China last December after seven years of negotiations. EFE