Europe’s Catastrophic Scenario: Chinese Intervention in Taiwan

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In April 2023, the foreign ministers of many European countries made statements talking about the possible consequences of China’s liable intervention in Taiwan. For example, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly referred to the global implications of a possible war across the Taiwan Strait and thus the destruction of the semiconductor industry. Cleverly claimed that China’s intervention in Taiwan would negatively affect trade all over the world and stated that any distance would not be enough to get rid of this devastating effect.

Cleverly’s statement that in the event of a war, no one can escape the devastating effects of this situation, can be perceived as a response to a speech by French President Emmanuel Macron on the subject. Because Macron said that Europe should follow an independent path from the United States of America (USA) in the Taiwan issue[1]. Arguing that this possible war has nothing to do with France, Macron’s aforementioned statement has a critical meaning, considering that the United States is one of Europe’s key security allies. In addition, Macron’s words may call into question France’s commitment to the trans-Atlantic security promise.

Another politician who responded to Macron’s statement was German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. Baerbock, sharing the same views with England, stated that Europe could not remain indifferent to a possible Taiwan-China tension and said that this would bring about very scary scenarios for world trade.

In addition, she argued that America, with which they share common values, is an important factor when faced with security problems such as the Russian threat. Considering the ongoing Russia-Ukraine War, these statements reveal a stable stance in terms of Europe’s peaceful and supportive attitude towards Ukraine. Because in a possible China-Taiwan War, Europe’s neutrality as Macron suggested may mean that Europe is exposed to the support of the USA in a possible Russian threat.

In addition, Baerbock stated that half of the world trade and 70 percent of the world’s semiconductor production are transported by ship from this region. Therefore, she underlined the importance of the Taiwan Strait in the world and European economy. At this point, it can be argued that in addition to the issue of security and human rights, the possible war in this region is also important in terms of economic interests. However, considering the reality that China is one of Europe’s largest trading partners, instead of taking a side, it can be stated that Europe would like to keep the tension in the region low. As a matter of fact, Joseph Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Relations and Security Policy, speaking in a similar tone, said that verbal provocations that cause tension and distrust should be avoided[2].

China, which has increased its pressure on Taiwan in recent years, is trying to bring the island under Beijing’s sovereignty. Taiwan Government, on the other hand, is in the desire to preserve the current status quo by rejecting it. Also, the USA cooperates with Taiwan in the field of defense, especially in military technology.

As a matter of fact, in April 2023, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister stated that they were preparing for a possible conflict with China, pointing to the year 2027[3]. Saying that he takes the Chinese threat seriously, the minister wants to get the support of the West. It is clear that Europe stands at a point in line with Taiwan’s interests. This is why Borell invited European navies to patrol the Taiwan Strait to show how important Taiwan is to Europe[4]. As can be understood from this serious call, Europe stands by Taiwan, even if it is for its own interests.

On the other hand, Taiwan-based discussions gained momentum after the meeting of Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen in April 2023 with the Speaker of the US House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy. Even, China, which held a three-day military exercise around Taiwan in April 2023, sent six navy ships to the strait in addition to flying warplanes in the region[5].

After all, as long as the West’s support for Taiwan and China’s strategy and claims regarding the island continue, the tension in the Asia-Pacific will not fade. As European politicians point out, the effects of a possible war are not regional; it will be at the global level.

[1] “Germany’s Baerbock Stresses Alliance with US on Taiwan in Tiposte to Macron”, Politico,, (Date of Accession: 30.04.2023).

[2] Ibid.

[3] “Taiwan Foreign Minister Warns of Conflict with China in 2027”, The Guardian,, (Date of Accession: 30.04.2023).

[4] “Taiwan Strait: top EU Diplomat Calls for European Navy Patrols”, The Guardian,, (Date of Accession: 30.04.2023).

[5] “China Flies 38 Warplanes Near Taiwan, 6 Navy Vessels in Area”, AP News,, (Date of Accession: 30.04.2023).

Güzin Yağmur BALTACI
Güzin Yağmur Baltacı, 2019 yılında Bilkent Üniversitesi Siyaset Bilimi ve Kamu Yönetimi Bölümü’nden mezun olmuştur. Yüksek lisans derecesini 2022 yılında Orta Avrupa Üniversitesi Siyaset Bilimi Anabilim Dalı’nda tamamlamıştır. Başlıca çalışma alanı karşılaştırmalı siyaset ve demokrasi kuramları olan Baltacı, ileri seviyede İngilizce ve temel düzeyde İspanyolca bilmektedir.