EU hails "unique opportunity" for China-Taiwan rapprochement

Other News Materials 27 May 2008 14:07 (UTC +04:00)

The European Union (EU) on Tuesday hailed the inauguration of a new president in Taiwan as a "unique opportunity" to warm relations with China, reported dpa.

"The EU believes that the establishment of a new administration in Taiwan provides a unique opportunity for the two sides to make further progress in their practical relations," a statement from the Slovenian government on behalf of the 27-member bloc said.

The inauguration of Taiwan's new leader, Ma Ying-jeou, "opens the possibility for (China and Taiwan) to take positive steps towards the resumption of a meaningful dialogue," and the EU "welcomes the willingness of both sides to take up these opportunities," the statement ran.

Ma was sworn in as Taiwan's president on May 20, saying that his main goal was to "seek peace" with China.

The director of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, Chen Yunlin, reacted warmly to the speech, saying that there were "major positive changes" in China's relationship with Taiwan.

The EU "welcomes the positive momentum given to the development of cross-Strait relations" by the comments, the statement said.

China is the EU's fastest-growing export market and its largest source of manufactured goods. The EU has long maintained a "One China Policy" on the China-Taiwan issue, a stance Tuesday's declaration reaffirmed.   

Slovenia currently holds the presidency of the council of EU member states, a post which rotates between members every six months.