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Backbench Business Committee Representations: Backbench Business

House of Commons

Held: 11th of January, 2022

Ian Mearns (Chair)

Welcome to the Backbench Business Committee. We have three applications this afternoon, the first of which is from Colonel Bob Stewart and Alicia Kearns, on UK-Taiwan friendship and co-operation.

Backbench Business Committee

Held : 11th of January, 2022

RESOURCES:

Ian Mearns (Chair)

In Committee Representations: Backbench Business

House of Commons

Held : 11th of January, 2022

Ian Mearns (Chair)

Welcome to the Backbench Business Committee. We have three applications this afternoon, the first of which is from Colonel Bob Stewart and Alicia Kearns, on UK-Taiwan friendship and co-operation.

Alicia Kearns, Bob Stewart, Nigel Mills

R

[EXCERPT] Alicia and I are doing this jointly. I have to declare I am the chair of the British-Taiwanese all-party parliamentary group. I have been here a couple of times and I am extremely concerned about the position that Taiwan is in at the moment. I also went to Beijing a year and a half ago with the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. In Beijing, I stood up in the Foreign Ministry and Defence Ministry and asked them why they were so imperialist in the South China sea, which caused all the people at the back who were quiet to go ballistic. My worry is this, and it is Alicia’s too, although she will speak for herself: when I was in Beijing, I was briefed by the defence attachés of various countries, including the UK, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. These military men were of the opinion that the People’s Liberation Army were reorganising and practising an invasion of Taiwan. They actually gave me the impression that they would within four to five years. That was two years ago. I have no reason to dispute that—looking at other sources it seems that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army are reorganising. There are the attacks on Taiwan by cyber, incursions by air, and lack of support for them in international organisations such as the World Health Organisation; the Taiwanese provide incredibly good state-of-the-art, top-rate rescue teams, but they are not even allowed to be a member of the WHO. The Chinese are blocking everything, principally because their line is that Taiwan should not exist, as it is a province of China. This matters to us as parliamentarians because Taiwan is a remarkably successful economy, and one we trade a lot with. I am really concerned about the islands of the Paracels or the Spratlys in the South China sea that have been militarised, and others. It is not just Taiwan that feels threatened—the Philippines do and so does Vietnam. I think I have said enough for you to take over, Alicia.

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