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Taiwan to monitor European elections for any cross-strait policy shifts

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The Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament holds a hearing on the situation in the Taiwan Strait in Brussels

Taipei, May 13 (CNA) Taiwan's intelligence agency and foreign ministry announced on Monday that they will closely monitor several upcoming elections on the European continent, including the European Union (EU) elections in June, to see if cross-strait policies will be affected.

In his report to the Legislative Yuan following the conclusion of Chinese President Xi Jinping's (習近平) five-day visit to Europe, Hsu Hsi-hsiang (徐錫祥), deputy director-general of the National Security Bureau (NSB), said the trip's purpose had been to "divide EU members and divide the EU and United States."

Xi concluded his high-profile five-day European tour -- his first trip to the continent in five years -- on Friday, after signing dozens of agreements with France, Hungary and Serbia. The latter is not an EU member state.

According to Hsu's Monday report, although Xi and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to call for a "truce" in Ukraine and other conflicts during the Paris Olympics, further consensus on Russia's war in Ukraine was not reached.

Hsu noted that the Chinese leader also visited Serbia and Hungary, two close economic and security partners of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in Europe and members of its Belt and Road Initiative.

In Hungary, Xi called on the country to make the most of its turn serving as rotating EU president from July to promote the "steady and sound development of China-EU relations," Hsu said in his report.

Hsu said this shows Beijing regards Serbia and Hungary as "breach points" of Europe. It could try to tout success stories of their cooperation with China to steer the continent towards being more China-friendly.

The NSB deputy said although Taiwan-EU relations will not change following the visit, Taiwan still needs to pay close attention to how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is backing pro-China forces in Russia, and Central and Eastern Europe, and how it is trying to divide the continent.

As well as in the 2024 EU elections set to be held in early June, the CCP is likely to try and exert influence in a range of parliamentary elections this year, including in Lithuania and Belgium, to try and suppress pro-Taiwan candidates and squeeze the currently overall Taiwan-friendly atmosphere, the NSB warned.

Meanwhile, while fielding questions during the same Legislative session, Eric Huang (黃鈞耀), head of the Department of European Affairs under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), said Hungary's upcoming rotating presidency is not expected to have a significant impact on EU policy regarding cross-strait issues.

It will be the results of the European Parliament elections in June, and of the parliamentary elections in several European countries this year that will have a more significant impact on the bloc's stance on Taiwan and China, Huang said.

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