Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu, right, and British lawmaker Alicia Kearns shake hands at a banquet in Taipei on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

By Kayleigh Madjar / Staff writer

Taiwan and the UK, although geographically far apart, are closely connected through their shared values, British lawmaker Alicia Kearns said on Wednesday.

Kearns made the remarks at a dinner banquet in Taipei, where Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu hosted Kearns as the head of a delegation from the British House of Commons. The seven-member delegation also includes British lawmakers Royston Smith of the Conservative Party, Liam Byrne of the Labor Party, Stewart McDonald of the Scottish National Party and Neil Coyle, an independent.

Kearns, who was in October elected chair of the House Foreign Affairs Select Committee, said Taiwan is not alone in the world, vowing that the British Parliament would remain committed to supporting its democratic partner.

Wu thanked the delegation for showing support for Taiwan and thanked the UK for adopting an “Indo-Pacific tilt” in last year's Integrated Review, declaring the region an area of ​​strategic importance.

The Indo-Pacific region is a geopolitical and economic powerhouse containing vital shipping routes, involving key interests of the UK and other global powers, he said.

Upheavals in the international situation in the past few months have highlighted the importance of like-minded partners banding together to resist the spread of authoritarianism, Wu added.

The “deeply significant” visit is the first by an official British parliamentary delegation since COVID-19 border controls were implemented nearly three years ago, the ministry said.

The lawmakers, who arrived on Tuesday, are also slated to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) today before they are to depart tomorrow.

Separately yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs thanked the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs for reiterating support for Taiwan in two annual policy reports.

The committee on Wednesday approved implementation reports on the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Common Security and Defense Policy, in which it called Taiwan a key partner of the EU and a democratically in the Indo-Pacific region, the ministry said in a news release.

It also called on top EU officials to establish strategic interactions with Taiwan, including high-level exchanges in economics, science, culture and politics, while reiterating last year's call for a bilateral investment agreement.

The reports also condemn China's continued military provocations against Taiwan and reaffirm the EU's resolution opposition to any unilateral attempt to change the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait.

The resolutions are to be voted on in the European Parliament next month.

News source: TAIPEI TIMES