Swiss lawmakers visit Taiwan, say they want closer ties

Taipei, Taiwan– A group of Swiss lawmakers met with Taiwan’s president and said on Monday his government wants to deepen political relations, adding to foreign politicians’ shows of support for self-governing island democracy in the face of Chinese bullying.

US lawmakers, including then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, angered Beijing by visiting Taiwan, which China’s ruling Communist Party claims as its territory. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government responded by flying fighter jets and bombers near the island of 22 million people and launching missiles into the sea.

Swiss lawmakers have asked their government “to consider how Switzerland’s existing relations with Taiwan can be progressively deepened in the interests of business, politics, science and culture”, one said. of legislators, Fabian Molina, during a meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen. .

Taiwan and China separated in 1949 after a civil war. The island was never part of the People’s Republic of China, but the Communist Party says it has an obligation to unite with the mainland, by force if necessary. Beijing claims that Tsai’s democratically elected government has no right to conduct foreign relations.

Switzerland, like all other European governments except Vatican City, maintains official relations with Beijing instead of Taiwan, but maintains extensive commercial and informal ties with the island, a high-tech center and a important trader.

“It is absolutely essential that the existing differences and tensions between Taiwan and the PRC be resolved peacefully and through dialogue,” said Molina, a member of the Swiss Social Democratic Party. “Anything less would be unacceptable.

Lawmakers from Britain and other countries have also traveled to Taiwan to show support for its elected government. Pelosi in August became the most senior US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years.

The Chinese embassy in Switzerland warned lawmakers ahead of their trip to avoid “official contacts”, according to Swiss media.

The Swiss delegation also included lawmakers Nicolas Walder, Yves Nidegger, Mustafa Atici and Leonore Porchet.

Tsai told them that Taiwan and Switzerland are “like-minded partners” who value freedom and democracy.

“I would like to thank you all once again for your strong support for Taiwan,” she told lawmakers.

“Taiwan is on the front line in defending democracy,” the president said. “In the face of the continued expansion of authoritarianism, we also call on our friends on the democratic front to continue to deepen our partnership and work together to secure our way of life.”

ABC News

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