“Taiwan is an important stronghold of democracy that deserves our support,” said Gian Marco Centinaio, Vice President of the Italian Senate, in an interview with our sister website, following his mission to Taipei.
- Last week, Centinaio and Senator Elena Murelli, both members of the League party, visited Taiwan. They met with members of the Taiwanese government and parliament, including President Tsai Ing-wen.
- Centinaio emphasized several aspects of strengthening ties between Italy and Taiwan, including the opening of a Taipei representative office in Milan in addition to the one already present in Rome, the new direct flight from Milan to Taipei, and the commitment of the Italian Navy in the Indo-Pacific.
- Last weekend, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu was in Milan, where he met with some representatives of the League. A Taiwanese lawmaker described the meeting as a “diplomatic breakthrough.”
“Our goal remains to maintain the status quo, with the recognition of the one-China principle and the possibility for Taiwan to continue its path of democracy and development,” stated Centinaio.
- “We cannot deceive ourselves or expect to influence Chinese plans easily, but by recognizing the centrality of Beijing in global dynamics, we can create conditions for diplomacy to be the main instrument of dialogue.”
- “From this perspective, the multilateral approach that characterizes the Italian diplomatic tradition can be instrumental”.
Centinaio also discussed the Memorandum of Understanding on the Belt and Road Initiative, which the Meloni government is signalling to be unwilling to renew when it expires in March.
- According to Centinaio, who was a minister in the Conte government that signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2019, Italy can “consider exploring different forms of collaboration with Beijing” if “it is true that our trade balance with China has worsened in recent years,” while other countries that do not participate in the Belt and Road Initiative have seen their exports grow more significantly.
- “This does not mean engaging in a conflict but simply reshaping the relationships by mutual agreement, as other major European countries already do, without compromising diplomatic and commercial relations. I fail to see why what holds for France, Germany, or Spain cannot potentially hold for” Italy.
- “We have the right and the duty to engage in dialogue even with those who may appear distant from us, but we will always defend our principles and national interests. I believe it is a legitimate aspiration.”