Foreign Affairs Committee

17 May 2006

East Asia

The Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons is a Committee of the British Parliament, made up of 14 Members of Parliament from the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat Parties. The Committee's role is to scrutinise the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and to hold the Government to account. The Committee conducts inquiries into areas of Government policy, by taking evidence in public from expert witnesses and travelling to visit the relevant regions. The Committee usually publishes Reports of its inquiries, making recommendations to the Government. In November 2005 the Foreign Affairs Committee announced the launch of an inquiry entitled "East Asia". The Committee has now travelled to the region for meetings as part of its inquiry.

Successive British Governments of all parties have maintained the position set out in the 1972 Communique signed with the People's Republic of China in which the United Kingdom recognised the Government of the People's Republic of China as the sole legal Government of China. The United Kingdom does not recognise Taiwan as a state and does not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan. The United Kingdom considers that the Taiwan issue should be settled peacefully by the people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits. The United Kingdom urges both sides to take confidence building measures and engage in constructive dialogue.