'You are not alone': EU lawmakers tell Taiwan

You are not alone.

That was the message EU lawmakers had for Taiwan on Thursday (November 4) during their first official visit to the island.

The EU delegation is seeking to foster stronger ties with Taipei as it faces rising pressure from Beijing.

China claims democratically-ruled Taiwan as its own and has not ruled out taking it by force.

The three day visit will include exchanges with Taiwanese officials on threats such as disinformation and cyber attacks.

French MEP Raphael Glucksmann leads the delegation:

"We came here with a very simple, very clear message. You are not alone. Europe is standing with you, by you, in the defence of freedom and the defence of rule of law and human dignity."

"We are all in the same boat in this world-wide confrontation between authoritarian regimes and democracies, and it's high-time for us in the European Union to show that we are in the same boat. So our visit should be considered as an important first step."

Taiwan does not have formal diplomatic ties with any European nation except tiny Vatican City.

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

Beijing has been quick to respond to Thursday's meeting, accusing Europe of sending the wrong signals to separatist forces in Taiwan.

During a media briefing, China's foreign ministry said the European side should correct its mistake.

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