Using EU Support, Taiwan Gets Exceptional Win in China naming Dispute

On Monday, Taiwan took a sigh of relief and expressed satisfaction by declaring that the European Union had stepped in to support the country. This happened after a global alliance of mayors halted referring to Taiwanese cities as part of China, in a rare win for the island amid growing Chinese pressure.

China’s Claims

China has boosted up efforts to get international groups and companies to go through their websites and in official documents to democratic, Chinese-claimed Taiwan as being part of China, to the ire of Taiwan’s government and many of its people.

Over the weekend, Taiwan officials showcased anger after the Brussels-based Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy started listing on its website its six Taiwan member cites as a part of China.

The mayors of the cities then wrote an open letter calling for the decision to be taken back.

Joseph Wu, Taiwan Foreign Minister stated that after the protest, the group had reverted to its original designation of the cities as being part of Chinese Taipei, a name Taiwan utilizes in few international bodies such as the Olympics to avoid Beijing’s objections to their participation.

EU doesn’t generally do This

The European Union “helped us in this effort”, Wu told parliament, without providing the details.

“We are very happy that with everyone’s hard work the name has reverted,” he said.

“Though some people may not be happy with this name, at least the way we participate is not placed under another country.”

The EU’s de facto embassy in Taipei did not promptly respond to a request for comment, and neither did the Global Covenant.

No EU member states have direct diplomatic ties with Taiwan and the EU itself acts to keep a low profile when it comes to Taiwan, wary of upsetting China, its second-largest trading partner.

In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin stated that Taiwan was an inalienable part of Chinese territory.

“Cities in the Taiwan region certainly should be listed as Chinese,” he told reporters.

The Global Covenant says its mission is to “galvanize climate and energy action across cities worldwide”. The only Chinese city it lists as a member is Hong Kong.