Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Written evidence submitted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office



  UK role and policies in East Asia


  Economic role

  Political role

  Human Rights



  Implementation of the Joint Declaration

  Political freedoms

  Status of the Chief Executive

  Basic rights and freedoms


  UK Position on Status of Taiwan

  Relations with the International Community

  Taiwan's relationship with China

  Role of the US


  Security Issues

  UK policy towards the DPRK

  Future Challenges


Sources of tension:

    —  DPRK nuclear programme

    —  Taiwan

    —  Risk of competitive nationalism

    —  Energy security and climate change


  Japan's Role

  The Role of the US in the region

  EU interests, policies and engagement


  1.  China: Political History

  2.  China: Political Structure

  3.  UK/China Joint Statement (May 2004)

  4.  Hong Kong SAR Government


  1.  We welcome this inquiry. It comes at an important juncture in our evolving relationship with China and in our overall engagement in East Asia and against a backdrop of rapid economic change in Asia and the increasing recognition of the potential impact of the global economy on UK domestic and foreign policy.

  2.  Key UK strategic priorities are at stake in the region, including the preservation of peace and strengthening of international security; counter-proliferation of WMD; immigration; development of democracy and the rule of law; promotion of improved respect for human rights; and promotion of sustainable, cooperative policies to meet global energy, environmental and human health challenges. We pursue these concerns across the region, both bilaterally and through multilateral fora like the EU, UN, and G8.

  3.  The UK's relationship with China is now closer than at any time. In May 2004 the Prime Minister and Premier Wen Jiabao signed a Joint Statement, which announced a "comprehensive strategic partnership" between the UK and China, and made a commitment to hold annual Summit meetings. The Deputy Prime Minister's China Task Force, comprising of leading academics, businesspeople and government officials with a knowledge of China guides policy in priority areas—education, science and technology, environment, trade and investment, development, health and culture.

  4.  Recent high-level exchanges including the Prime Minister's visit to China in September 2005 for the EU/China and bilateral Summits and President Hu Jintao's State Visit in November 2005 provide us with a good basis to deepen dialogue and seek to exert a positive influence on the rise of China. We are working to step up our engagement with the Chinese across the board, to reflect our assessment of China's increasing economic weight and political influence.

  5.  The UK is the largest European investor in China and its third largest trading partner within the EU (a separate memorandum submitted by UK Trade and Investment explores the UK trade and investment relationship with China and the region in greater detail). The UK has made great strides in increasing scientific and educational co-operation (50,000 Chinese students in UK universities) in recent years, and the fruits of co-operation on tourism are starting to show through, with an upsurge in Chinese visitors to the UK since the granting of Approved Destination Status earlier this year. Our shared Olympics interests offer further opportunity for co-operation.

  6.  Japan and South Korea (Republic of Korea—ROK) are major free market democracies, with economies respectively the 2nd and 11th largest in the world. Both have high volume trade and investment relationships with the UK. Japan is one of the UK's strategic partners, sharing core UK and EU values and increasingly ready to promote these internationally. The ROK too largely shares our political outlook and is developing a greater international commitment.

  7.  North Korea (the Democratic People's Republic of Korea—DPRK), on the other hand, remains a potentially destabilising factor, posing a WMD and proliferation threat, risk of economic collapse and an appalling human rights record.

  8.  The US role in the region is central, providing key security guarantees as well as being the most important partner for all the major players in the region. It is allied with Japan and the ROK. The EU is increasing its focus and developing a strengthened dialogue with the US and Japan on East Asian regional issues.



  9.  As a P5 member, a nuclear power and a major regional political player, China's influential role in global politics has been a fact of life for decades. However, sustained economic growth and development over the past 25 years have made China an established economic power with global reach. This in turn has increased the country's geopolitical influence, and the importance of ensuring that it contributes constructively to the collective goals of the international community.


  10.  The Chinese economy grew by 9.5% in 2004 and annual growth of 9% is forecast this year. China's long term goal is to quadruple GDP between 2000 and 2020 (an implied average annual growth rate of 7.2%). Its share of world trade—now at 8%—has doubled in the last decade and it is forecast to become the world's largest exporter by 2010 and possibly overtake Japan as the second largest economy in the world within a decade.

  11.  China is already the largest global consumer of various goods and commodities (including coal and steel, mobile phones, grain, meat). China's heightened demand for imports of capital and consumer goods is more than matched by its increasing export prowess, making it a leading trade partner for most industrialised countries, the UK included. Moreover, it is a major destination for global foreign direct investment—the UK is a leading investor, with at least 4,000 joint ventures with Chinese firms.

  12.  In economic terms, China is now large enough for a whole range of its economic policy decisions to have substantial international impact, and China could well become the world's largest exporter by 2010. Current examples of China's economic influence abound. These include official encouragement for Chinese companies to become multinationals, and say, make foreign acquisitions to support security of energy supply; recent tentative moves to liberalise its currency; lacklustre efforts to control violation of internationally-recognised intellectual property rights; and the maintenance of state subsidies to industries, further enhancing China's comparative advantage in mass production and export of cheap manufacturing products.

  13.  China is already using its growing international economic power to project some of its external political objectives. Examples of its "soft power" strategy include the various bilateral economic co-operation programmes in Africa, Latin America and other parts of Asia that it has concluded in the past year or so, and vigorous pursuit of free trade agreements with key trading partners.

  14.  This growing international footprint has implications for both business and government in the UK and other industrialised nations. China epitomises globalisation, with all the ensuing opportunities and threats. Indeed, for a broad range of western companies, China's increasing role in shaping global economic trends means that a China strategy is now de rigeur. For some firms such a strategy may simply be directed towards taking full advantage of the opportunity to source cheap goods and services from China. For others, it relates to adjusting their own production methods and costs to beat the competitive challenge. But it can also entail actively seeking opportunities to base export operations in China or, indeed, to sell to the growing internal consumer market.

  15.  For governments, China's growing prominence poses a different set of questions. China's relatively low endowment of natural resources means that its material needs are substantial, and this is exerting a powerful influence on world commodity prices. As resource constraints are already constraining growth, the Chinese government has been looking increasingly actively for energy security. China currently accounts for 10% of global energy consumption, second only to the US. But this is likely to rise to 14% over the next decade.

  16.  China is already the world's largest coal burner; by 2020 it will consume over 40% of the world's total production. Most of its additional needs will be met by importing oil from the Middle East and Africa and gas from Russia. In 15 years, many analysts expect China to be consuming the equivalent of Saudi Arabia's entire oil production. This will have substantial environmental impacts, including on neighbouring states.

  17.  That China's economic rise is unlikely to be an entirely comfortable process for the rest of the world makes it even more imperative that we seek to engage with China on global economic issues, in tandem with our efforts to enhance economic and trade relationships.

  18.  There is an unparalleled opportunity to promote a positive Chinese mindset on economic and structural reforms. For many years, China has been engaging in economic reforms that have yielded notable successes, particularly in lifting people out of abject poverty, and in developing an increasingly vibrant private sector from scratch. But major reform challenges remain, in particular on China's development towards transparent and accountable government and a sustainable, open market economy. The UK and other Governments stand to contribute by providing specific expertise and in fostering technology transfer and professional know-how.


  19.  On the political front China is playing an increasingly active role in international affairs. It has supported the international war against terrorism, including in the UN Security Council (where it holds one of the five Permanent Seats). China has also been supportive on counter-proliferation issues, eg concerning Iran, and is playing an active role in the 6 Party Talks (6PT) aimed at solving the North Korea problem. It is showing increased willingness to co-operate on sustainable development issues and integrate with G8 processes.

  20.  However, China's actions are limited by adherence to old-fashioned principles of "non-interference in internal affairs" and respect for sovereignty (largely defensive reactions to concerns about foreign interference in China's own affairs—eg over Taiwan and Tibet). China did not support military action against Iraq. And China strongly opposes the threat of sanctions on Sudan. Elsewhere China continues to support unsavoury regimes and block international pressure that could force change (eg DPRK, Burma, Zimbabwe). China is also stepping up its involvement in regional groups such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and ASEAN +3, and has shown a keen interest in the East Asia Summit. A China/ASEAN Free Trade Area is under discussion.

  21.  The Chinese continue to view the US as their primary foreign policy interest. There are frequent exchanges at a senior level and principals hold regular phone conversations. Despite a number of setbacks, the US and Chinese have worked hard to develop their relationship, though Taiwan remains the most intractable issue between them.


  22.  HMG recognises that over the last 15 years the Chinese government has done much to help reduce poverty levels within China and promote economic development. Restrictions on labour mobility have been relaxed; it is now possible for Chinese citizens to choose their own career path, travel more widely (both within China and abroad) and own their own homes. On the surface, China is increasingly becoming a consumer society.

  23.  But contradictions exist: there is a growing gap between the urban rich in the booming east coast cities and the rural poor in the western provinces. Throughout China there are 160 million people who still live on less than $1/day, and 486 million on less than $2/day. China remains a major recipient of overseas aid. President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao have won respect among the population for the concern they have shown towards improving the living conditions of ordinary Chinese, particularly in the countryside, but underlying anxieties remain about the impact on social order of widening inequalities, official corruption the degradation of the environment.

  24.  At the same time Chinese political development has not kept pace with the impressive economic changes in the country. There is a lack of fundamental political rights: the Communist Party maintains a monopoly on political power; there is a lack of democratic elections and independent political parties; political activists are harassed and arrested. Free trade unions are not allowed.

  25.  There are serious restrictions on freedom to practise religion. Members of non-registered churches can be harassed and arrested. The new regulations on religion published in March 2005 are not, in our view, compatible with the spirit of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)—which China has signed but is only making slow progress towards ratifying—or with other international human rights documents China has signed up to.

  26.  The Government has serious concerns about many other human rights issues in China, including the extensive use of the death penalty; the use of torture; arbitrary detention (including the practice of re-education through labour), freedom of expression and association; the situation in Tibet and Xinjiang; prison conditions and the treatment of prisoners; psychiatric abuse; and treatment of Falun Gong supporters.

  27.  While sustainable change will only come from within, the Government is working to encourage China in the right direction through a policy of "critical engagement". There are three main areas of activity. Firstly, Ministers raise human rights with Chinese interlocutors, including at the highest level. The Prime Minister did so, for example, during the Chinese State Visit of November 2005 and during the EU China Summit of September 2005. Ministers across Whitehall, and not only in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, have raised human rights issues of concern in their area of responsibility. For example Lord Falconer raised the cases of two Chinese lawyers with visiting Chinese Justice Minister Zhang Fusen in April 2005.

  28.  Secondly, the UK and EU China Human Rights Dialogues are useful instruments which allow a number of issues of concern to be raised and discussed in detail. In our view the dialogue process does contribute to incremental change (eg the last UK China Human Rights Dialogue round in June 2005 focussed on freedom of expression and civil society. Under the UK Presidency the EU China Human Rights Dialogue round in October 2005 focussed on freedom of religion and the role of the judiciary in the criminal justice system. The EU delegation at those talks also visited Xinjiang and raised a number of concerns about the situation there directly with officials.

  29.  Thirdly, HMG also supports various human rights projects in China. In addition to training programmes for judges and lawyers, HMG funds a number of projects aimed at improving the rule of law, reducing application of the death penalty and promoting freedom of expression. One example is a project working with the Chinese Ministry of Public Security to develop a system to improve detection and handling of instances of police misconduct. Another project is working to reduce the use of the death penalty in China by strengthening the capacity and role of defence lawyers in capital crime cases.


  30.  Successive British Governments have regarded Tibet as autonomous whilst recognising the special position of the Chinese authorities there. This continues to be HMG's view. HMG does not recognise the so-called "Tibetan Government in Exile".

  31.  We and our EU partners have welcomed visits to China by the Dalai Lama's representatives between 2002 and 2004. The most recent round of talks took place in Berne from 30 June to 1 July 2005. We have pressed the Chinese repeatedly to continue these contacts and enter a substantive dialogue without pre-conditions and have made clear our view that negotiations should work towards a long term peaceful solution acceptable to the Tibetan people. China continues to insist that the Dalai Lama abandon calls for independence; accept that Tibet is a part of China; and acknowledge that Taiwan is a part of China, as a precondition to substantive dialogue. The Dalai Lama no longer calls for independence but has stated his desire for genuine autonomy for the Tibetans.

  32.  Nevertheless, we remain very concerned about the human rights situation in Tibet, particularly the restrictions on religious practice and the on-going political education campaign in monasteries. We are concerned that economic development does not take the wishes of the local Tibetan population into account, nor do they benefit proportionately and of the impact of continuing inward migration into the region on traditional Tibetan culture.

  33.  We monitor Tibet-related developments closely and raise our concerns with the Chinese authorities at every suitable opportunity. The Prime Minister discussed human rights, including Tibet, with Premier Wen during his visit to China in September 2005 and the Foreign Secretary and the Chinese Foreign Minister spoke about Tibet-related issues when they met during Hu Jintao's State Visit in October. Ian Pearson, Minister for China, raised a number of human rights concerns, including Tibet, during his visit to China in July and met with a group of London-based Tibetan NGOs in November.



  34. There have been major developments in Hong Kong, particularly in the areas of human rights and political freedoms, since the Foreign Affairs Committee's report on Hong Kong in 2000. What follows draws on the reports on Hong Kong presented by the Foreign Secretary to Parliament every six months since the handover, and takes account of developments since the latest report, covering the period January to June 2005. The next six-monthly report will be published in February 2006.

  35.  Britain's signature of the Joint Declaration provides the basis for Britain's continuing interest in, and commitment to, the special arrangements for the protection of Hong Kong's way of life.

  36.  We have a deep and wide-ranging bilateral relationship, including co-operation in areas such as the environment, education (the British Council's English language teaching operation in Hong Kong is the largest in the world), legal and law enforcement issues (including customs, drugs and illegal immigration). Our Consulate General in Hong Kong is our biggest in the world.

  37.  The UK and Hong Kong are important trading and investment partners with bilateral trade in 2004 amounting to £8.5 billion. Hong Kong is the UK's thirteenth largest export market and second largest in the Asia Pacific region after Japan, with exports in 2004 of £2.6 billion. Hong Kong is also a major long-term investor in the UK. Hong Kong's investment in the UK represents around 80% of all Hong Kong investment in Europe.

  38.  Visits in both directions continue at a high level. The Hong Kong Chief Executive met the Prime Minister in London in November 2005. Ministers (including Cabinet Ministers) from the FCO, Home Office, Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Department of Health, Scottish and Welsh Offices, Department for Education and Skills and the Department for Trade and Industry have visited Hong Kong in 2004 and 2005.

  39.  There are nearly 3.5 million holders of the British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) passport, most of whom live in Hong Kong. There are also an estimated 200,000 British Citizens in Hong Kong.


  40.  The Sino-British Joint Declaration, signed by the British and Chinese governments in 1984, paved the way for Hong Kong's return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 and outlined the "One Country, Two Systems" model for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR). Hong Kong's way of life and capitalist system would remain unchanged for 50 years after 1997.

  41.  The Joint Declaration and the Basic Law provide that Hong Kong will have a high degree of autonomy, except in foreign affairs and defence, which are the responsibility of the Central People's Government in China.

  42.  While we have expressed concerns at certain developments in Hong Kong, we continue to believe that on the whole the Chinese and SAR Governments remain committed to safeguarding Hong Kong's systems and way of life and that the principle of "One Country, Two Systems" has generally worked well in practice. Where we have concerns we have raised them with the authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong (see below for further details).

  43.  We will continue to watch developments in Hong Kong closely and, as co-signatory of the Joint Declaration, will continue to comment on how the Joint Declaration is observed by the Chinese and SAR Governments. We will also continue to report regularly to Parliament.


Constitutional reform

  44.  The major political issue in Hong Kong in the past two years has been constitutional reform. The Basic Law sets out how elections will be held in Hong Kong until 2007 and lays down the ultimate aims of the election of the Chief Executive and all members of the Legislative Council by universal suffrage, although there is no precise timetable for reaching this goal.

  45.  Pressure for early democratisation has increased following the major demonstrations on 1 July 2003 and 1 January 2004. In 2003 the SAR Government promised to issue a timetable for discussion of constitutional reform by the end of 2003 and to hold a public consultation on the subject in early 2004. In the event, the SAR Government chose not to issue a timetable in December 2003; and in January 2004 the Chief Executive announced the formation of the Hong Kong Constitutional Development Task Force to study the detailed provisions in the Basic Law and to consult with the central authorities in Beijing before taking things further.

  46.  However before the Task Force had completed its consultation process the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPCSC) on 6 April 2004 conducted a self-initiated "interpretation" of Hong Kong's Basic Law. Former FCO Minister Bill Rammell commented on the "interpretation" in a statement on 7 April "that the procedure set out by the NPCSC requiring a submission from the Chief Executive adds a further step to the procedure set out in the Annexes to the Basic Law. This appeared to us to erode the high degree of autonomy which is guaranteed under the terms of the Joint Declaration and which underpins Hong Kong's stability and prosperity".

  47.  The "interpretation" prepared the way for a second ruling on 26 April 2004. The subsequent ruling (termed a "decision") set limits on Hong Kong's constitutional development by ruling out the possibility of universal suffrage for the selection of the Chief Executive in 2007 and the election of all members of the Legislative Council by universal suffrage in 2008. Mr Rammell issued a further statement on 26 April 2004 that" this decision seems to us to be inconsistent with the high degree of autonomy which Hong Kong is guaranteed under the Joint Declaration". Mr Rammell also made representations to the Chinese Ambassador on 26 April and the Prime Minister discussed Hong Kong with Premier Wen during the Chinese leader's visit to London in May 2004 and agreed to continue an exchange of views on these issues.

  48.  The Task Force published its proposals on reform to the methods for electing the Chief Executive (2007) and LegCo (2008) on 19 October 2005. The proposals will be put to the Legislative Council on 21 December 2005 in the form of two resolutions. To become law they need the support of 40 of the 60 legislators, and the approval of the NPCSC. On 4 December 2005 a substantial number of people marched peacefully through the streets in support of universal suffrage.

  49.  The Government supports early moves towards universal suffrage. The SAR Government's proposals, by widening the franchise for elections in 2007-08, are an incremental step in this direction. We look forward to further progress towards universal suffrage in future elections. We hope that the SAR Government will take into account the wishes of the people of Hong Kong.


  50.  Following Chief Executive Tung's resignation in March 2005 the NPCSC, at the request of the SAR Government, amid some controversy, approved an interpretation of the Basic Law stating that the term of office of Hong Kong's next Chief Executive should be two years.

  51.  We recognise that the SAR Government did not lightly seek an interpretation of the Basic Law and was alive to the sensitivities of taking such a course and that it is important for Hong Kong's stability and prosperity that constitutional processes are able to function properly, and according to the provisions of the Basic Law. However, given the importance of demonstrating Hong Kong's judicial independence and high degree of autonomy we consider that it would have been preferable for a referral to the NPC to have been the outcome of due process in the Hong Kong courts.

  52.  Donald Tsang was unopposed in the Chief Executive election having secured 674 nominations out of a possible 796 from members of the Election Committee on 16 June 2005.


  53.  We continue to attach the highest importance to the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong people and to follow closely the SAR Government's commitments to uphold and protect these rights. Although our overall assessment is positive we continue to take note of issues of concern.

  54.  Hong Kong has a diverse, open and vibrant press and media. But there are constant concerns that Chinese influence may seek to restrict this, either directly or indirectly. Fears that freedom of expression was under threat emerged in May 2004 when three popular radio show hosts abruptly resigned, citing "political pressure" as the reason.

  55.  The freedom to demonstrate is also a fundamental right in a free society. We welcome the fact that peaceful and orderly public demonstrations have continued to take place in Hong Kong, most noticeably in July 2003 and 2004 and December 2005 when substantial numbers of people marched peacefully through the streets.

  56.  The Falun Gong is proscribed in mainland China, but its lawful activities have continued to be permitted in Hong Kong, and they conduct frequent protests against their treatment in China. Their right to protest was challenged when 16 Falun Gong members were convicted for public order offences in August 2002.  The convictions were appealed in September 2003 and in November 2004 the Court of Appeal, in a unanimous decision, overturned the convictions for public obstruction. In making their decision the judges cited the Basic Law, the Bill of Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as protecting "fundamental freedoms" of assembly, demonstration and expression in Hong Kong. Appeals by nine of the protesters against charges of obstructing and assaulting a police officer in the execution of his duty were dismissed but eight of the Falun Gong practitioners appealed to the Court of Final Appeal which overturned the convictions on 5 May 2005. The court said that the police had no reasonable grounds to suspect that obstruction had occurred and that the freedom to demonstrate peacefully was a constitutional right.

  57.  The SAR Government has to meet its obligations under the International Covenant on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). It has committed to implement legislation prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of race in order to comply with its Hong Kong's obligation under the ICERD. Public consultation on the proposed legislation ended on 8 February 2005 and the SAR Government intends to submit a draft bill before July 2006. HMG hopes that the views of all the community in Hong Kong will be taken into consideration and that legislation, which fully meets Hong Kong's legislative obligations under the ICERD, will be implemented this year.

  58.  Hong Kong is a signatory to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). On April 27-29 2005 SAR Government delegates attended a hearing in Geneva as part of a Chinese government team to determine progress in implementing the ICESCR. The UN Committee, in its concluding comments, welcomed the establishment of the Sexual Minorities Forum and the planned establishment of the Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Unit within the Home Affairs Bureau. The UN Committee also welcomed the extensive efforts taken by the SAR Government, including sensitisation campaigns to combat prejudices and discrimination against persons with physical and mental disabilities.

  59.  However, the UN Committee also called on the SAR Government to extend the protection afforded under the draft race discrimination legislation to internal migrants from the mainland. They expressed concern that present anti-discrimination legislation did not cover discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and age. The UN Committee also expressed concern that the Equal Opportunities Commission did not have the broad remit of a human rights institution.

  60.  A number of pro-democracy politicians continue to face difficulties in travelling to the mainland. We have raised this issue several times with the SAR and Chinese Governments and have recorded our concerns in the Foreign Secretary's reports to Parliament. (Many had not been allowed to visit the mainland since the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown.) There have been recent and welcome positive developments. In September 2005 the new Chief Executive, Donald Tsang, organised and led a two-day tour of the Pearl River Delta by 59 Legislators (Miriam Lau, the 60th Legislator, was out of town). This was the first time that all Legislators in Hong Kong had been invited to the mainland. We hope that these visits signal a closer dialogue between pro-democracy politicians and the mainland authorities and that these will extend in the future to meetings with the central authorities in Beijing.

  61.  In 2003 the SAR Government attempted to introduce national security legislation to meet its obligations under Article 23 of the Basic Law. However, it decided to delay passage of the legislation following a major demonstration on 1 July 2003 by over 500,000 people, in order to allow more time for further discussion of the issues in Hong Kong. Since then the SAR Government has withdrawn the draft legislation from the Legislative Council. The SAR Government is still committed to passing legislation on this issue but no timetable has been set out for taking things forward. We believe that it is important not only that the final legislation does not undermine the basic rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong but also that people perceive this to be the case.



  62.  Taiwan holds a unique position in the world. It has an economy of global importance and its own democratic political system. Yet the UK, like most other countries, does not recognise Taiwan as a state and does not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Under the terms of a 1972 agreement with China, HMG acknowledged the position of the Government of the PRC that Taiwan was a province of China and recognised the PRC Government as the sole legal government of China. This remains the basis of our relations with Taiwan. We do not deal with the Taiwan authorities on a government-to-government basis, and we avoid any act which could be taken to imply recognition. Consequently, any contact with Taiwan on issues such as cross-Strait relations is at official level through informal channels. The UK nonetheless enjoys a flourishing relationship with Taiwan based on trade, investment, financial, educational, cultural and other exchanges.


  63.  Our interests are unofficially represented through the British Trade and Cultural Office (BTCO) at Taipei, established in 1993 and headed by a senior Diplomatic Service Officer on secondment. The principal role of the BTCO is to promote our trade and investment interests. It also has a Visa Handling Unit, set up in 1989. Because of its unofficial nature it cannot carry out any formal consular functions. However, it does seek to carry out some basic consular protection work by assisting distressed British citizens. There is also a small branch office in the southern port of Kaohsiung.

  64.  Taiwanese representation in London is similarly unofficial. It comprises the Taipei Representative Office in the UK which carries out similar functions to the BTCO. It has a branch office in Edinburgh which opened in 1998. Because of its unofficial nature, neither this organisation nor its staff are accorded privileges or immunities.

  65.  HMG's principal objectives in relation to Taiwan are economic. We seek to develop UK trade and commercial involvement with Taiwan, including inward investment. We also seek to develop a wide range of unofficial links, particularly in the educational and cultural fields. We support the further economic development of Taiwan. We also welcome Taiwan's political development and the democratic elections that have taken place there. In developing our relations with Taiwan we act within the restraints imposed by our formal position on the status of Taiwan and bear in mind China's sensitivities in order to ensure that unnecessary damage to that relationship is avoided.

  66.  We also make it clear that we consider the Taiwan issue is one to be settled by the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. We are strongly opposed to any use of force and urge both sides to engage in constructive dialogue.


  67.  At the time of writing the countries with which Taiwan has diplomatic relations number 25 (12 in Latin America, six in Africa, six in the Pacific and one in Europe—the Holy See). Taiwan has representative offices, without diplomatic status, in 62 countries. China opposes Taiwan's participation in international organisations in which statehood is a prerequisite. It has sought to limit Taiwan's participation in other international organisations, insisting it do so under a name other than the "Republic of China'. Taiwan is a member of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Asian Development Bank under the titles "Chinese Taipei' and "Taipei, China" respectively, and joined the World Trade Organisation in 2002 under the title "The Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu", or Chinese Taipei for short.

  68.  Because of our formal position on the status of Taiwan we do not support Taiwan's membership of international bodies whose membership is limited to states. We do support and encourage Taiwan's membership of appropriate international economic and other fora. Together with EU partners, we have pressed the Secretariat of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to find pragmatic solutions to allow the inclusion of Taiwan in the global health safety net. As a result, the WHO signed a MOU with China earlier in 2005 to allow such co-operation, though the practical effects of the MOU, of which details remain secret, are only just beginning to be felt.


  69.  Taiwan's relations with China are principally determined by the "Act Governing Relations Between the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area". The Taiwanese authorities have long abandoned the notion that they are the legitimate Government of China but structures still exist to promote eventual reunification, such as the National Reunification Guidelines and the National Reunification Council.

  70.  The Government of the PRC continues to maintain that Taiwan is an indivisible part of China, that China is the ultimate sovereign authority of Taiwan, and that China's ultimate aim is reunification. The Taiwan question is an emotive issue for China. China regularly points to a shared culture and language and often cites both the Cairo Declaration (1943) and the Potsdam Declaration (1945) to support its claim to sovereignty.

  71.  In fact, quasi-official dialogues have taken place in the past between China and Taiwan to explore the possibility of establishing a modus vivendi, at least on technical issues if not on the fundamental questions of Taiwan's status and the possibility of agreeing terms for eventual reunification. Reports of a "consensus" having been reached during 1992 talks in Hong Kong are exaggerated; but both sides made a commitment, however informally, to a nominal "One China" principle. Definitions of what each side meant by this were deliberately avoided. Contacts were abruptly halted following former "President" Lee Teng-hui's statement in July 1999 that relations across the Strait should be conducted on a "special state to state" basis.

  72.  At the beginning of 2005 there was a distinct thaw in relations between China and Taiwan when special cross-Strait flights for the Chinese New Year were agreed. Direct transport links across the Strait have been suspended since 1949. But tensions were raised again when the Chinese leadership re-asserted its position with the enactment of its Anti-Secession Law, principally a codification of China's existing principles and practices. Among other things, it refers to China's determination to reunify the country at some stage, peacefully if at all possible, but using "non-peaceful means" if necessary. It was designed to check and oppose movement towards "de jure" independence by "President" Chen Shui-bian, who in 2004 called for a new constitution supported by a referendum. The EU issued a statement at the time recalling its opposition to the use of force to solve the Taiwan question.

  73.  Since then, tensions have eased somewhat with members of the opposition parties (KMT and People's First Party) making historic visits to China. Plenty of media coverage was given to the visits in both China and Taiwan. Many Chinese initiatives have arisen as result of these visits. China has been reaching out to constituencies in Taiwan such as farmers, the tourist industry, businessmen and students. Significantly, these visits took the "sting" out of the Anti-Secession Law, and subsequent initiatives have had the effect of marginalising Taiwan's authorities. As a result, the Taiwanese authorities remain highly sceptical of China's motives and "charm offensive" and do not acknowledge a reduction in fundamental political tensions. China refuses to resume dialogue with the Taiwanese authorities until they acknowledge a "One China" principle.


  74.  The three joint US-China communiqués and the Taiwan Relations Act guide US policy on China and Taiwan. The first joint US-China communiqué, which forms the basis of those relations between the US and the PRC, was issued in 1972. In 1979 the US switched its recognition from Taiwan to the PRC, and shortly afterwards US Congress passed the Taiwan Relations Act. This Act states that the US decision to establish diplomatic relations with the PRC rested upon the expectation that the future of Taiwan would be determined by peaceful means and that the US would view any effort to resolve Taiwan's future by any other means with grave concern. It also states that the US will provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive nature.

  75.  US policy has been deliberately ambiguous on the subject of defending Taiwan in the event of an attack from China. The Taiwan Relations Act does not oblige the US to come to the defence of Taiwan in the event of an attack by China. It does however require the US to maintain a capacity to resist any resort to the use of force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardise Taiwan. But the US is also clear that it does not support Taiwan independence, and that it opposes unilateral steps on either side of the Taiwan Strait to change the status quo.

  76.  This policy of strategic ambiguity has prompted US Presidents to challenge each side at different times. In 1995 President Clinton ordered carrier battle groups to sail through the Taiwan Strait after the PRC launched missiles tests in waters near Taiwan. President Bush commented in 2001 that the US would "do whatever it takes" to defend Taiwan. That year the US Administration also announced a US$18 billion arms package for Taiwan. Yet during the visit of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to the US in December 2003, in response to statements by Chen Shui-bian which China would have regarded as provocative, President Bush said: "`We oppose any unilateral decision by either China or Taiwan to change the status quo, and the comments and actions made by the leader of Taiwan indicate that he may be willing to make decisions unilaterally, to change the status quo, which we oppose.'"

  77.  Security in the Taiwan Strait will remain high on the list of US priorities, particularly in the light of China's increasing military capabilities. Earlier this year the US and Japan jointly issued a statement which listed Taiwan as a common security concern. It said that in the region one of its common strategic objectives was to encourage the peaceful resolution of issues concerning the Taiwan Strait through dialogue. But the repeated failure since 2001 of the Taiwanese legislature to pass the special arms budget has lead some in Congress to question Taiwan's commitment to provide for its own defence.



  78.  Hostilities between the DPRK and the UN ended under the 1953 Armistice, but there is no Peace Treaty. A heavily guarded De-Militarised Zone (DMZ) continues to separate DPRK and ROK. Both sides have nevertheless committed to work for the reunification of Korea. The DMZ continues to be supervised by the UN Command Military Armistice Commission under the Armistice Agreement.

  79.  The DPRK army of over one million is the fourth largest in the world. The ROK's is the sixth largest with 600,000. The 1953 Mutual Defense Treaty between the ROK and the US forms the basis of the US-ROK alliance, which ensures security on the Korean Peninsula. The US is re-configuring its presence to a smaller but more potent force of 25,000 stationed within the ROK. The US has other forces in the region on which it could call if necessary.

  80.  The DPRK acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1985, but since December 2002 the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has not been able to carry out any verification activities. In January 2003 the DPRK stated its intention to withdraw from the NPT. On 10 February 2005 the DPRK publicly claimed to have manufactured nuclear weapons. We have no reliable confirmation of this claim, but there is little doubt that weapons-grade plutonium could have been produced from spent fuel removed from the DPRK's 5-megawatt reactor at Yongbyon. We are also concerned at reports that the DPRK may be trying to develop a uranium enrichment programme for weapons purposes.

  81.  Dismantlement of the DPRK's nuclear weapons programmes under verifiable conditions is being sought through the Six Party Talks (6PT) process, involving the DPRK, the ROK, US, China, Russia and Japan. These began in 2003, and in September 2005 the parties agreed a joint statement in which the DPRK undertook to abandon its nuclear weapons and programmes and return at an early date to the NPT. The statement also included a number of commitments by other parties in the 6PT. The statement did not contain provision for sequencing or implementation of these commitments. These are supposed to be the subject of future rounds of talks within the 6PT.

  82.  The DPRK is also believed to have chemical weapons capabilities and the infrastructure to support a biological weapons programme. It is not a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), but has ratified the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC). It possesses and has tested missiles which we believe are capable of delivering payloads, possibly including nuclear, to the ROK, Japan and beyond. It has also demonstrated expertise in technologies that could enable development of missiles with ranges of over 10,000 km, allowing it to target the UK.

  83.  The ROK is a party to the CWC and the BTWC, has declared possession of chemical weapons, and is destroying its stockpile in accordance with the provisions of the CWC. The ROK is believed to have made some progress on a nuclear weapons programme during the 1970s when ruled by a military dictatorship, but has long since acceded to the NPT.


  84.  Following the 1953 Korean Armistice, the UK was one of 16 signatories to a joint declaration pledging to resist if armed attack in Korea were renewed. The UK however does not acknowledge an automatic commitment to get involved if hostilities were to continue. It is widely accepted that the US-ROK Mutual Defense Treaty would be invoked in the event that hostilities resumed. The UK however continues to play a role in upholding the Armistice; the British Defence Attache in Seoul is the one-star Commonwealth Member of the United Nations Command.

  85.  Whilst not a participant in the 6PT, the UK and the EU strongly support the process, and the EU has made clear its readiness to assist in whatever way it can. The EU is a member of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organisation (KEDO) Executive Board. KEDO was set up in the 1990s to provide energy assistance to the DPRK and began construction of a nuclear power reactor for this purpose. This reactor project was terminated in November 2005, having been suspended since renewed doubts surfaced over DPRK nuclear intentions in 2002. KEDO itself is also to close, probably during 2006. The EU would be likely to remain on the Executive Board until closure, and continue to be involved in any future energy settlement under the 6PT.

  86.  The UK and EU take every opportunity to press the DPRK to honour NPT obligations and negotiate constructively and in good faith in the 6PT towards early, verifiable dismantlement of its nuclear programmes. We are also concerned by reports of possible DPRK proliferation activity in the nuclear weapons and missiles areas, and work with the EU and the international community to try to reduce this threat.

  87.  HMG does not consider the DPRK to have met the withdrawal provisions of the NPT when announcing its departure from the NPT in 2003, though we accept that others take a different view. Following that announcement, we halted bilateral activity which might be held directly to support the DPRK regime eg economic/technical assistance and trade promotion. We have made clear to the DPRK that relaxation of these restrictions will not be considered without progress on the nuclear issue and also on human rights concerns. Other EU Member States adjusted their approach to the DPRK on similar lines.


  88. Notwithstanding its public statements, it remains unclear whether the DPRK has taken the strategic decision to negotiate away its nuclear weapons capability in return for security assurances from the US and the provision of large-scale energy assistance. Should the US and others come to regard the DPRK's stance in the 6PT as delaying tactics rather than genuine negotiation, pressure for action within the UN Security Council may grow. The DPRK has stated it would regard UN sanctions as an act of war.

  89.  Stability within the DPRK is not assured. Much of the population lives in poverty and near-starvation. In August 2005, the DPRK announced that all humanitarian assistance should cease by 31 December, claiming there was no longer a need, and the wish was for developmental aid only. The international community rejects this analysis of humanitarian needs, and continues to press the DPRK to reconsider. Economic reform is essential if things are to improve, but significant movement towards a market-oriented economy is unlikely under the current system, which favours centralisation and is preoccupied with security and social controls. China provides fuel, which is essential for the DPRK regime's survival. ROK also provides large amounts of food aid, but applies less conditionality than other international donors would like. Both China and ROK are aware of the risks to their interests if there were regime collapse and a refugee crisis.


  90.  East Asia and the wider Asian region contain some of the world's most pressing security challenges. China, Japan, the ROK and the US are the major political and security players in the region. The EU is a major economic player; but up to now has not played a significant political role. The UK's direct involvement in the region's security declined with Empire. The rise of China and reactions to it have prompted a re-assessment of the UK's and indeed the EU's engagement in the region. By 2020 the Asian economy may account for a greater share of world GDP than the US or the EU. As China develops it will become an important investor in developed economies. The security and stability of the region is a pre-condition for this continued economic growth.

  91.  China's rise presages major changes in the regional political and security balance. Its overriding objective is economic growth, which it sees as central to restoring China's regional pre-eminence and global importance. China will continue to work within the international system in pursuit of its economic objectives, but there is a sense amongst many in the Chinese Government that it is a system which they had little say in establishing. An increasingly engaged China may seek to challenge established norms, and mobilise friendly countries in support of these efforts. It has worked hard to reassure neighbours of its "peaceful rise", but suspicions are never far from the surface and can easily re-emerge.

  92.  The EU imposed an arms embargo on China following the violent suppression of the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy demonstrations in 1989. The embargo is politically, not legally, binding at the EU level and in practice Member States interpret it as covering only lethal weaponry. The great majority of applications for the export of licensable defence or other sensitive equipment to China do not fall into this category: these are assessed instead against the criteria of the EU Code of Conduct. Under the criteria of the Code, the Government would not permit the export of goods if there was a clear risk that the export would be used for internal repression or external aggression or would upset the regional military balance or cause instability.

  93.  The embargo is therefore now of largely symbolic significance. The Chinese Government consider the embargo outdated and an example of political discrimination. Following Chinese lobbying of the UK and other EU countries, the European Council in December 2003 agreed to launch a review of the embargo. Until the review process is complete, the Government continues to implement the embargo fully. The review continues, and there is at present no consensus among Member States as to when a decision on lifting the embargo should take place. The European Council in December 2004 stated that the result of any decision should not be an increase in arms exports from EU member states to China "in quantitative or qualitative terms". Member States have reached agreement on newly strengthened and more transparent common procedures to govern future exports of arms and sensitive equipment. These would replace the existing Code of Conduct, although an implementation date has yet to be agreed. Agreement is also close on a "toolbox" of additional transparency measures in respect of exports to countries coming out of embargoes.

  94.  The US and others with an interest in the balance of security in the region have also expressed their concerns that embargo lift (and any resulting increase in arms sales) will lead to a change in the dynamics of the security balance in the region. Under the UK Presidency strategic dialogues to discuss regional security issues have been taken forward with the US and launched with Japan.


DPRK—nuclear programme and proliferation

  95.  The DPRK's nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles programmes are the most immediate threat to security in the region. Besides the potential threat to the DPRK's neighbours (in particular Japan) and the wider risk from onward proliferation, an unchecked DPRK nuclear programme would undermine global non-proliferation norms weakening our ability to counter proliferation elsewhere. The DPRK regime appears to be currently stable, but any collapse could easily draw in China, ROK and the US. A military clash between the two Koreas, while unlikely, would have disastrous consequences for the Korean peninsula.


  96.  China would be prepared to use force to prevent Taiwan moving to "de jure" independence, as it made clear in its Anti-Secession Law in March 2005. A clash over Taiwan, while unlikely, would have potentially disastrous consequences for the region and internationally, bringing the US (and possibly Japan, given US use of Japanese bases) into direct conflict with another nuclear power. More recently, China's apparent acceptance that time is working in its favour through the gradual increase of economic and social contact between Taiwan and the mainland has contributed to the easing of political tensions. But the situation is not inherently stable and could be upset quickly if there were, for example, a change of policy in Taipei or Beijing. There is also the risk of miscalculation.

Risk of Competitive Nationalism

  97.  Political relations between China and Japan are currently distant and cool, despite vibrant economic relations. The Japanese recognise the benefits to their economy of China's growth, but many are concerned that the rise of China may be at the expense of Japanese and US influence in the region. China's opposition to the Japanese bid for a permanent seat in the Security Council, and China's assertive attitude to territorial disputes in the East China Sea are seen as evidence for this. These strategic tensions are compounded by unresolved historical antagonisms. The Chinese complain about what they see as signs of revisionism in Japan's attitude to its history, most obviously Prime Minister Koizumi's visits to the Yasukuni Shrine (commemorating Japanese war dead including war criminals). Many Japanese in turn see the Chinese government's "patriotic education", with its emphasis on Japanese war crimes, as a ploy to shore up legitimacy by stoking nationalist, anti-Japanese feeling among young Chinese. Historical and territorial disputes also continue to cause friction at the political level between Japan and the ROK. Japanese/Chinese and Japanese/Korean tensions are likely to remain an obstacle to regional integration for the foreseeable future. The stabilising role played by Japan's security alliance with the US will remain vital.

Energy security and climate change

  98.  Rising energy demand in Asia and competition between Japan, China and India for resources affect our security, energy and climate change interests. Japan imports more crude oil than China, but Chinese and Indian demand is growing strongly, driving up oil prices and increasing volatility. China and India are investing in maritime capabilities to protect transit routes; state owned companies are buying oil and gas assets in countries that will influence their foreign policies in ways we will find difficult (eg Sudan and Iran). China and India will make decisions on energy resources, particularly coal, in the coming years, which could have huge implications for our climate change objectives for decades to come.



  99.  Japan is a key strategic partner for the UK, globally as well as within the region. It is a rich, stable democracy, with similar values and approaches to most of the major foreign policy issues, on which it has become more active and assertive under Koizumi. It is a reliable member of and substantial contributor to the international system, paying nearly 20% of the UN budget. It is the UK's largest trading partner and source of foreign investment after the EU and US, and we have close financial, academic and scientific links.

  100.  Japan is the most energy efficient of the world's major economies, but is also the world's 2nd biggest importer of oil by some margin because of its limited natural resources. 85% of this oil comes from the Middle East. Japan depends on imports for some 80% of its total energy requirements and with increasingly fierce competition for resources in the region, energy security is likely to move even higher up the agenda.

  101.  Under Koizumi Japan has aligned itself closely with US policy in the war on terrorism and Iraq, and reinforced the security alliance, including through joint development of Ballistic Missile Defence. These developments have been motivated in large part by heightened Japanese perceptions of a threat from North Korea, following overflight of Japan by a DPRK missile test in 1998, the start of the "second nuclear crisis" in 2002, and the North Korean admission in the same year that it had abducted Japanese citizens. The Security Consultative Committee Document agreed by US and Japanese Foreign and Defence Ministers in October 2002 represents a further significant step in the evolution of the security alliance. Although this included a provisional agreement on the reduction of the US Marine presence in Okinawa, it also committed Japan and the US to work more closely on international as well as regional security issues.

  102.  Koizumi has said that he regards a strong relationship with the US as a "necessary foundation" for Japan's relations within the region. Despite the political tensions outlined in Section II, Japan's economic and other links with China, the ROK and others are flourishing. But it is clear that Japan will take a cautious attitude to any proposals for regional integration, especially Chinese-led, which seem to downplay the US's role in the region, especially on security issues.

  103.  Japan has substantial and well-equipped armed forces, though they are subject to legal and political constraints. Article 9 of the Japanese constitution, written in the aftermath of the Second World War, severely constrains the ability of the Self Defence Forces (SDF) to play hard security roles overseas. However, Japan has crossed several major policy thresholds since Koizumi came to power. For example, the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law was passed in November 2001, paving the way for Japanese naval logistical support in the Indian Ocean to US-led operations in Afghanistan, including the refuelling of Royal Navy vessels. This was followed by the deployment of Japanese troops to work on reconstruction in southern Iraq, where they worked closely with UK and Australian troops.


  104.  The US is the largest Pacific power. It has an essential national interest in peace and stability in the western Pacific. It has kept the lid on a regional arms race by guaranteeing Japanese and South Korean security and their non-nuclear status. In the absence of any indigenous regional security structures, the US network of bilateral alliances is the chief guarantor of peace and stability. The US maintains large numbers of troops and military assets in both Japan and ROK, and has a legal and political commitment to help Taiwan defend itself. The US has an extensive political and economic relationship with China: every US Administration since Nixon has followed a policy of engagement. But China's rise could disturb the military balance in the region which the US has maintained for half a century. This creates a complex and sometimes uneasy relationship between the US and China. Even as the US works to integrate China into the international community, it is also building closer relations with countries on China's periphery. Many in the US see China as the strategic threat; others recognise that China's rise needs to be absorbed by the US so that the two countries are not always in tension.

  105.  China will not become the military equal of the US for decades to come, but its economic growth is likely to make it a much more significant military power, shifting the balance of power in East Asia and increasing the cost to the US of its military presence. China's military modernisation programme has accelerated in recent years. China's aims may include deterring US military intervention in any cross-Strait operation and deterring Taiwanese independence or otherwise coercing Taiwan. Some analysts also assess that China may be trying to acquire the capacity to project power in other areas.

  106.  The US says it opposes any unilateral change in the status quo over Taiwan because unilateral change could cause conflict. In practice this means not only deterring China from military aggression but also deterring Taiwan moves toward "de jure" independence. The US argues that China's military build-up goes beyond the requirements of self-defence and is destabilising because it suggests that China has ambitions of regional and perhaps wider domination.


Emerging engagement

  107.  East Asia is of major strategic importance for the UK and the EU. EU engagement has to date nevertheless been largely defined through Member States' economic interests in the region rather than the political or security concerns of regional partners. This is partly because the EU does not share the US's responsibility for maintaining peace and security in the region. This relative political passivity is reflected in the fact that the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy says little about East Asian issues. But the EU is increasingly recognising its vital interest in the reservation of peace and security in East Asia, and the leverage which its economic weight give it eg in urging greater market access for foreign firms and encouraging structural improvements in China's economic system in return for granting China the Market Economy Status it covets. It also has unique experience in post-war reconciliation and in political and economic integration on which to draw. For these reasons it is timely for the EU to seek a strengthened role in the region and the UK has been a prime mover, under its Presidency, to put in place a more developed, coherent and focussed EU foreign and security policy in East Asia and in establishing Strategic Dialogues with the US, Japan and China.

EU interests

  108. The economic interests which the EU—and with it the UK—have at stake in the region are large. China, Japan, ROK, Taiwan and member states of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) account for 26% of the EU's global trade; and this proportion is rising. The EU is now China's largest trading partner, and China is the EU's second largest trading partner after the US. East Asian economies hold the greatest volume of the world's foreign currency resources and consequently have significant influence on global financial stability. The security and stability of the region has direct consequences for Europe; and for the region itself, it is a precondition for continued economic success.

  109.  The EU's security interests in the region embrace a broad sweep of issues: preservation of peace and strengthening of international security in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter; the promotion of a rule-based international system; the promotion of regional integration; the development and consolidation of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; and the promotion of cooperative and sustainable policies to meet global challenges such as energy, environment and health. Progress towards these goals will contribute significantly to stability both in Europe and in the region.

EU strategy

  110. The emerging EU strategy is to establish and broaden its strategic dialogue with China, develop its strategic dialogues on East Asia with Japan and the US; deepen its political dialogue on regional issues with the ROK; develop its exchanges on regional issues with other important players such as Australia and members of ASEAN and increase its engagement in the region, including through regional fora such as the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), EU-ASEAN and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).

  111. These dialogues will serve to deepen the expertise of Member States, the Council Secretariat and the Commission on regional foreign and security policy matters. They will establish better channels, which the EU can use to exert its own influence on the regional players. They will also over time help to develop common analysis and approaches, allowing the EU to deploy its weight more effectively in concert with others.

Specific policies

  112. We expect EU policy on the changing balance in the region to focus on promoting harmonious and co-operative relations among the key players, promoting confidence-building measures and encouraging peaceful and cooperative solutions to territorial disputes. The EU should urge China to be more transparent about its military doctrine, institutions and expenditure; and seek to lead regional political leaders away from competitive nationalism towards relationships defined in terms of shared interests and promoting effective multilateralism.

  113. The relationship with China will be critical to the EU's global agenda. We expect EU policy to evolve in a way which reflects the UK's broad goal of working actively to foster China's emergence as a successful and responsible member of the international community. To achieve this, deeper engagement, will be required in key areas such as non-proliferation, counter-terrorism, illegal migration, serious crime, conflict prevention, peacekeeping and China's increasing activities in the developing world, setting out clearly where the EU has difficulties or commonalities of approach. It should continue to support China's adherence to its World Trade Organisation commitments and develop a dialogue with China on energy and environment issues. Under the UK Presidency work has begun on a new Framework Agreement, which will serve to define the breadth and depth of the EU's future relationship with China.

  114. The EU should also develop co-operation with Japan, the ROK and ASEAN Member States on a range of global issues, expanding dialogue and cooperation into new areas; continue its engagement for the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the region; continue to promote cultural and civil society exchanges; and step up its work in particular with China, stressing the need for swifter progress towards rule of law and personal freedoms and gradual progress towards democracy.

  115.  The EU's long-term aim should be to increase regional integration and encourage the emergence of strong regional institutions based on clear recognition of shared interests. There is no current system or forum within which shared regional security concerns can be addressed. In this situation the US's alliances and presence in the region supply essential guarantees. Policy guidelines wording. In this situation the credibility of US defence guarantees in the region remains essential for the preservation of peace and stability. The EU recognises this geo-strategic reality. It will now develop and continue through its strategic dialogues an understanding of the existing security framework and an ability to influence the key actors, and concert action with them where necessary.

  116.  Looking further into the future, the EU will over time seek to develop the authority and the effectiveness of the regional organisations and fora, promote outward-looking models, work to build up the activities of the ARF and ASEM; strengthen dialogue with ASEAN; support the development of the East Asia Summit in an open and inclusive way; explore the possibility of an OSCE-type organisation in the region; seek out opportunities to add value to regional organisations, as for example with the EU-ASEAN monitoring mission in support of the Aceh Peace Deal; and encourage greater involvement of regional players in multilateral peacekeeping operations.

  117.  The EU should be ready to encourage initiatives aimed at promoting cross-Straits dialogue, practical co-operation and confidence-building; openly praise positive developments; encourage an inclusive process of dialogue that involves all parties concerned; and encourage both sides to pursue pragmatic solutions to questions regarding the position of Taiwan with regard top specialised multilateral fora. The EU should also develop its understanding of the military balance affecting the cross-Strait situation, and of related risks.

  118.  The EU should continue to express its willingness to gradually deepen and widen relations with the DPRK provided that significant progress is made on EU matters of concern such as the resolution of the nuclear issue and on the improvement of the human rights situation. It should maintain its support for peace and stability on a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula; stress its continuing support for the 6PT process and its insistence on the verified full dismantlement of the DPRK's nuclear weapons.

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