China's ambassador to Estonia Li Chao said on Friday (December 3) he is disturbed by the meeting between legislators from the Baltic States and the President of the Republic of China (Taiwan) Tsai Ing-wen in Tapei on Monday.
Reform MPs Madis Milling and Jüri Jaanson are in Taiwan as part of a 10 member delegation from the Baltic states to attend the Open Parliament Forum 2021.
Milling told ERR on Monday that Estonia's long-term goal should be opening a Taiwanese representation in Tallinn. Diplomatic recognition of Taiwan could become a goal he said.
The Embassy of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in Tallinn said Milling's comments interfere with China's internal issues, undermines China's sovereignty and territorial completeness, and that such statements are in conflict with the previously agreed upon politics.
"These statements are damaging Estonia-China relations. China strongly condemns and strongly opposes it," the embassy wrote in a letter.
The Chinese embassy's statement adds that members of the Riigikogu have a special status and that the words they have said have sent false signals on Taiwanese independence, which "undermine political trust between China and Estonia and poison the climate of bilateral relations".
The embassy wrote that Taiwan has no international status or prospects, other than reunification with China.
"We have noticed that the Estonian government recently issued a statement about adhering with the One China policy. We hope that the Estonian side will be able to fully understand the importance of the Taiwan issue, eliminate obstacles and take steps to fulfill its political obligations."
Milling and Jaanson, along with Latvia's and Lithuania's parliament representatives, will be in Taiwan until December 6. The delegation met with the Taiwanese president and its foreign minister on Monday. Milling and Jaanson are members of the Riigikogu's Estonia-Taiwan Friendship Group.
Estonia's current China policy which supports the "One China Policy" was agreed to during President Lennart Meri's term (1992-2001).
This summer Lithuania announced the opening of a Taiwanese representation office - a de facto embassy - in Vilnius. The move was followed by a sharp deterioration in relations between Lithuania and Beijing. Usually the name Taipei is used.
Estonian foreign minister: We are following "One China policy"
Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets (Center) told ERR that in its relations with Taiwan, Estonia has always followed the One China policy and, within that framework, has also had bilateral relations with Taiwan, especially in economic and cultural fields.
"We have a number of practical activities, but we have not considered opening a representative office, neither side has shown any specific interest in it. At the same time, this has not hindered the development of relations," Liimets commented.
"At the moment, there are no plans for Estonia to review this policy."
Baltic reception in Taiwan
The Baltic delegation, which includes six Lithuanians and two MPs each from Latvia and Estonia, arrived in Taipei on Sunday (November 28).
Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-Wen welcomed the Baltic delegation and wrote on her social media account: "We are grateful for your support and excited to explore opportunities for broader cooperation based on our shared values."
A warm welcome to the delegation of parliamentarians from #Lithuania , #Latvia & #Estonia on your visit to #Taiwan . We are grateful for your support & excited to explore opportunities for broader cooperation based on our shared values. pic.twitter.com/3zapwuDo3o— 蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen (@iingwen) November 29, 2021
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the ROC (Taiwan) wrote that "freedom, democracy and human rights" were "high on the menu" during a banquet for the Baltic delegation upon their arrival in Taipei.
"We're grateful for the support of our like-minded friends and thank them for courageously choosing to stand with Taiwan," the ministry wrote.
Freedom, democracy & human rights were high on the menu at the banquet held by Minister Wu for the delegation of MPs from #Estonia, #Latvia & #Lithuania. We're grateful for the support of our like-minded friends & thank them for courageously choosing to #StandWithTaiwan. pic.twitter.com/xn7bDKQbnA— 外交部 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ROC (Taiwan) (@MOFA_Taiwan) November 29, 2021
Editor: Roberta Vaino, Helen Wright