According to an EU lawmaker, the EU must strengthen ties with Taiwan and start work on an investment deal with the island. The move is likely to anger Beijing as a similar EU-China deal reached in 2020 has been put on hold.

With a majority of 580 to 26 votes, the European Parliament backed the non-binding resolution requesting the bloc's executive European Commission "urgently start an impact assessment, public consultation, and scoping exercise on a bilateral investment agreement".

The lawmakers also demanded that the bloc's Taipei trade office be renamed the EU office in Taiwan, effectively upgrading the mission despite the fact that neither the EU nor its member states have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory.

Military tensions between China and Taiwan have risen, with Taipei claiming that Beijing will be able to launch a "full scale" invasion of the island by 2025.

The EU added Taiwan to its list of trade partners eligible for an investment agreement in 2015, but has not held negotiations with the democratically ruled island since then, although Taipei is keen to reach an agreement.

A similar investment agreement reached last year between the EU and its key trading partner China has been blocked for months. Beijing sanctioned EU lawmakers in a human rights dispute, after which the European Parliament put its ratification on hold.

Meanwhile, with a global semiconductor shortage, Taiwan has become increasingly appealing to the EU, with Brussels urging key Taiwanese chip makers to invest in the bloc, as they have done in the US.