Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

EU-China relations

Delivered in Plenary - 13th March 2013

Mr President

The ECR has always acknowledged the PRC as a constructive and essential global partner, and I do hope that one day we will be able to welcome it into the family of nations as a peace-loving and democratic China, with full respect for human rights Ė a bit like Taiwan. For the time being however, it remains a one-party Communist dictatorship with an alarmingly dismissive attitude to the welfare of its own people.

Yet it cannot be ignored. The current crises in North Korea and Syria demonstrate the need for us to cooperate in the UN in the interests of global peace. In particular, China should no longer be able to act as a lone friend to pariah states from Sudan to the DPRK and train missiles at friendly nations, while simultaneously demanding full international respectability.

For this reason I welcome the reportís balanced stance. It appropriately considers the needs of Taiwan, whose friendship group I chair in this Parliament, particularly with regard to President Maís plan for the de-escalation of tensions in the East China Sea, where one false move could easily plunge China and Japan into a potentially catastrophic war. There are also important amendments on Tibet, whose people continue to be oppressed by a Chinese Government intent on destroying the Tibetan peopleís language and way of life.

China, with over two trillion dollars in reserve, also needs to observe high standards of corporate governance in Africa (I am the rapporteur for the Horn of Africa). We must ultimately hope that the ever more powerful Chinese state, which is now the European Unionís biggest trading partner, can prove to be a force for good in the world.