Italian MPs are Taiwan-bound. A delegation of members of the Italian Parliament is readying to fly to Taipei in the coming days, as Senator Lucio Malan – member of PM Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy (FdI) party and president of the Italy-Taiwan Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group – told our sister website.
- They’re likely to take advantage of the Rome-Taipei direct flight, recently resumed and operated by Taiwan’s flagship company China Airlines.
- The flight’s inauguration ceremony was attended by Taiwan’s diplomatic representatives to Italy, Vincent Tsai (read our interview with him) and the Holy See, Mattiew Lee, as well as members of the Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group.
- Decode39 understands this is the first of several parliamentary missions that could happen throughout 2023.
The importance of reaching out. Senator Malan himself won’t be travelling to Taipei as he must remain in Rome and mind local matters, as he explained. He also called the reopening of the air route “good news” and stressed the importance of parliamentary diplomacy with a country like Taiwan, with which there are no official diplomatic relations.
- Almost all departing MPs are on their first visit, added the senator, highlighting it will be crucial for them “to understand the local reality.”
- League MP Marco Dreosto had also travelled to Taiwan, in his former capacity as Member of the European Parliament alongside other colleagues, in November 2021. That was the first visit of its kind.
- Since then, the League and FdI became governing partners – and Italy-Taiwan ties have been flourishing under PM Meloni.
A hulking neighbour. China, which still sees Taiwan as a breakaway province to re-annex by any means, has been actively and aggressively discouraging any sort of entente between the island and other countries, including such interparliamentary contacts.
- Most recently, Beijing threatened Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen of “retaliation” over her planned trip to the United States and visit with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
- It also harshly criticised the latter’s predecessor, Nancy Pelosi, when she travelled to Taipei in August 2022.
- Beijing’s diplomacy rebuked PM Meloni too, the day after she was elected, for her closeness to Taipei.
Meanwhile, Italy is looking to the Indo-Pacific with increasing interest for its security dimension. Rome’s flagship aircraft carrier, the Cavour, will reach the area between late 2023 and early 2024. Meanwhile, the Morosini frigate just took part in a two-day exercise with United States and European forces in the area.