Integration of Taiwan will defuse conflict - EU

"We don't make our decision thinking what will be the reaction in any other third country, what will be the reaction in Beijing," said delegation member Raphael Glucksmann when asked about the risks of the trip, adding that he is already on the sanctions list of China.

"We don't want to provoke anybody, and it shouldn't be perceived as a provocation to come to Taiwan and speak between democracies about how we defend our democracies," he added.

Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory and has not ruled out taking by force, does not have formal diplomatic ties with any European nations except tiny Vatican City. But it is keen to deepen relations with members of the European Union.

The EU lawmakers' visit comes after Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu made a rare trip to Europe last month that angered Beijing, which warned the host countries against undermining relations with China.

Fearing retaliation from Beijing, most countries are unwilling to host senior Taiwanese ministers or send high-level officials to the democratically-ruled island.

Last month, the European Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution to deepen ties with Taiwan, with steps such as looking into an investment agreement.

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