EU intelligence chief cancels Taiwan trip after Beijing learns his secret plans – POLITICO

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The European Union’s high intelligence official canceled a visit to Taiwan after his top-secret preparations had been seemingly leaked to Beijing prematurely, in response to two diplomats with information of the state of affairs.

José Casimiro Morgado, director of the European Union Intelligence and Scenario Centre, was presupposed to make the below-the-radar go to to fulfill Taiwanese officers in October, in response to the diplomats.

Nonetheless, the EU spy chief’s plan got here to a halt after Beijing acquired maintain of the data and put strain on the EU to scrap what would have been an unusually delicate go to amid China’s escalating army threats on Taiwan, which Beijing considers a part of its personal territory.

The event calls into query whether or not a human or knowledge leak from the EU was concerned, with diplomats additionally involved in regards to the EU’s change of plans after Beijing’s intervention.

An EU spokesman mentioned: “As a normal rule, we by no means touch upon on a regular basis working actions of the European Exterior Motion Service employees in public.” He wouldn’t say whether or not there’s an investigation into doable exterior leaks about Morgado’s journey plans.

The Chinese language mission to the EU, when requested about Morgado’s authentic plan, mentioned China “has persistently and firmly opposed any type of official exchanges between the Taiwan area and international locations or organizations having diplomatic ties with China.”

The revelation additionally sheds additional mild on the quiet diplomacy between the EU and Taiwan, after final yr’s covert journey to Brussels by Taiwan’s International Minister Joseph Wu. The EU Intelligence and Scenario Centre, recognized within the Brussels bubble as INTCEN, focuses on civilian “intelligence-based situational consciousness” and types certainly one of two pillars of the EU’s “single intelligence evaluation capability,” alongside the military-focused Intelligence Directorate of the EU Army Employees.

A spokeswoman for the Taipei Consultant Workplace within the EU and Belgium, Taiwan’s de facto embassy, mentioned in a reply: “We’ve no additional info.”

Morgado was appointed head of INTCEN in 2019, after greater than 20 years working within the Portuguese intelligence service. He solutions on to Josep Borrell, head of the European Exterior Motion Service, the EU’s overseas coverage arm. He couldn’t be reached for remark.

Talking throughout a session on EU-Taiwan relations within the European Parliament on Tuesday, Borrell vowed to “intensify” ties with the self-ruling democratic island, whereas abiding by the “one China coverage.”

“Let me be clear on this: ‘One China coverage’ doesn’t stop us, the European Union, from persisting and intensifying our cooperation in Taiwan, nor from expressing our issues on the latest rising tensions,” Borrell mentioned.

Taiwanese International Minister Joseph Wu | Vladimir Simicek/AFP through Getty Pictures

“We’ve to proceed participating with Taiwan economically, and politically.”

Borrell mentioned he had no plans to go to Taiwan, however added: “So far as I do know there’s no journey … on the highest political degree of the European Union — which doesn’t imply there’s no relationship.”

The EU has stepped up official exchanges with Taiwan as Beijing flexed its army muscular tissues across the island following U.S. Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s go to in August. A Taiwanese minister attended a commerce dialogue with the EU’s high commerce bureaucrat in June, though the bloc is steering away from any formal negotiation of a bilateral funding treaty.

The European Parliament is predicted to move a movement on Thursday calling for the EU to vary the title of its commerce workplace in Taipei to “replicate the broad scope of our ties.”

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