Ireland could support Taiwan’s role on the world stage while acknowledging China’s claim on the island, a TD has said.
The issue of Taiwanese sovereignty is in focus this week after US Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a visit to the capital city Taipei, angering China.
China has long claimed Taiwan, but has increased pressure on the government of the island in recent years.
In 2016, Beijing cut off all contact with Taiwan after President Tsai Ing-wen refused to endorse its claim that the island and mainland together make up a single Chinese nation.
Officially, Ireland and the EU subscribe to what is called the “One China Policy”. This means, in effect, that the EU recognises the government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal government of China but EU nations and Taiwan have developed solid relations and close cooperation in a wide range of areas.
A Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson told the Irish Examiner: “Ireland, like all EU member states and the EU itself, adheres to the One China Policy and does not maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan nor recognise it as a state.
However, the One China Policy does not preclude the development of economic and cultural relations with Taiwan at official level, and we engage with them on this basis.”
Carlow-Kilkenny TD John McGuinness is chair of the Taiwan-Ireland Parliamentary Association and has visited the island a number of times. He said Taiwan should be supported to join international organisations like the World Economic Forum, even if the One China Policy remains intact.
We acknowledge the One China Policy, but we believe that Taiwan can contribute to world organisations. We welcome Nancy Pelosi’s visit and believe it will be a positive.
“But while we acknowledge the One China Policy, Taiwan is a democracy and they can play a part in world affairs. It’s a country of 24m people that has a very advanced technology sector and it should be included on the world stage.
“Myself and Irish supporters are saying they should be able to do that without Chinese harassment in terms of military manoeuvres and airspace infringement.”
Irish trade with Taiwan is worth about €1bn yearly, but there is no permanent outpost for Irish investment in the country. Answering a question on closer ties between the two economies last year, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said Ireland’s interests in Taiwan are largely done through the European Economic and Trade Office.
“Enterprise Ireland is the Government agency responsible for the development and g