Baltic MPs to meet with Taiwanese leaders

Jüri Jaanson.
Jüri Jaanson. Source: Karli Saul/EOK

Estonia, Latvian and Lithuanian MPs will meet with the premier and president of Taiwan next week while attending a democracy forum. The visit takes place at a time when relations between China and Lithuania are at a record low.

Local media website Taiwan News reported on Wednesday 10 representatives from the Baltics will visit Taipei for the 2021 Open Parliament Forum on December 2-3.

Estonian Reform Party Riigikogu members Jüri Jaanson and Madis Milling will participate in the visit. Both are members of the parliament's Estonia-Taiwan Friendship Group.

The group's chairman, Jaanson, said they will meet with President Tsai Ing-wen and Premier Su Tseng-chang. Additionally, a joint statement will be signed between the Baltic-Taiwanese cooperation groups at the forum, he said.

Relations between China and Lithuania have soured after Vilnius allowed Taiwan to open a "representative office" - a de facto embassy - using the name Taiwan rather than Taipei.

The office opened last week, public broadcaster LRT reported, but it will not have diplomatic status and will focus on economic cooperation.

Taiwan is a self-ruled island but it is regarded by Beijing as part of China. On Sunday, China downgraded its diplomatic relations with Lithuania over the issue.

Jaanson said Taiwan could also open its own economic and cultural office in Estonia. Currently, the volume of trade between Estonia and Taiwan amounts to approximately €50 million.

"Taiwan is a very advanced country, we have a lot to learn from it," he said. "But I think the volume of mutual investment could increase, and we are working in that direction."

"Of course, we are also very interested in Taiwan being able to establish its own cultural and economic presence here for us. In this respect, we are following with interest how they are doing in Lithuania."

He did not say if an office should be opened under the name Taiwan or Taipei but said the region should be supported and relations further developed but added they should not be political.

Jaanson said Estonia - and the EU - officially recognizes Beijing's "One China" policy which says there is only one sovereign state and that Taiwan is part of China.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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