On 12 August, the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute (EFPI/ICDS) hosted a roundtable on cross-strait relations and the impact on EU-Taiwan agenda. Organised and moderated by EFPI’s Senior Fellow Steven Blockmans, the discussion led to lively exchanges and important insights on the aftermath of Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.
EFPI was fortunate and honoured to host the former Taiwanese Minister of Research and Development, and Vice President of the National Dong Hwa University, Prof Chin-Peng Chu (朱景鵬). Prof Chu presented his views on the recent developments in cross-strait relations, the relations between the PRC and Russia, and explored the sentiments of the younger Taiwanese generations. The presentation was followed by comments from Dr Blockmans, James Sherr OBE (EFPI), Monika Reinem (MFA), and Mr Frank Jüris (EFPI).
Some of the covered topics include:
- The increased threat perception in the Taiwan Strait following U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan on August 2-3
- U.S.-Taiwan relations, including trade in semiconductors
- The impacts of the new Chinese white paper on Taiwan released on August 10
- Economic impacts, following China’s military drills in the Strait
- Chinese soft power influence on Social Media (incl. TikTok) in Taiwan
- Who will come to Taiwan’s aid in case of an invasion from the PRC (the U.S., the people of Taiwan), and why?
- The EU’s role in ensuring the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait
The guest speaker expressed concerns that Pelosi’s visit marked a tipping point in the PRC’s attitude towards the ‘One China principle’ (vs. American and European interpretations of the ‘policy’) and the timetable for so-called ‘peaceful (re-)unification’ (rather 2027 than 2049). He expected military drills in the Taiwan Strait to continue, disturbing the openness of the critically important international air- and waterways, and ‘salami-slicing’ away at Taiwan’s de facto sovereignty while staying below the threshold of triggering a war. Prof. Chu regretted that the Taiwanese nationalist agenda of the President’s DPP had rejected the 1992 consensus with the PRC (‘One China’, different interpretations), which emboldened Xi to take a harder line on unification – by force, if necessary.
The participants also concluded that the trend of mounting tensions between the U.S. and China will likely lead to a further strengthening of China-Russia ties, albeit with the latter in the role of vassal to the former. The EU should, first and foremost, ensure the success of its sanctions regime on Russia. This could send a signal to China, indirectly deterring it from countering the de facto independence of Taiwan.