Reform MP: Estonia should also host a Tawianese diplomatic representation

Jüri Jaanson, at the Riigikogu last year.
Jüri Jaanson, at the Riigikogu last year. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Estonia should follow Lithuania's lead in setting up a Republic of China (ROC) diplomatic representation in Tallinn, one MP says. This would both encourage cooperation and inward investment, and help support the ROC at a time when it is under pressure from Beijing.

Reform Party MP Jüri Jaanson, chair of the Riigikogu's Estonian-Taiwan friendship group of the Riigikogu said that: "Nowadays, we really wouldn't call things around the corner anymore, but there could be a representation of Taiwan itself [in Estonia]. Using this we we could communicate with Taipei much more actively and also show our appreciation for their struggle to maintain a democratic society."

Frank Jüris, a researcher at the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute (Eesti Välispoliitika Instituut) concurred that closer relations with Taiwan could only be of benefit for Estonia.

He said: "On the one hand, we would protect our supply chains, with an eye to the future. Taiwan is already an extremely important semiconductor producer, which all our high technology, military industry, and green revolution depend."

"On the other hand, it is important that we do not let the tendency towards 'might is right' recur," he went on, referring to the People's Republic of China (PRC) and to Russia.

Jaanson, a former top rower who took Silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, pointed to the Tawianese embassy which opened up in Vilnius last year as an example, as well as a phenomenon where some countries in Taipei state that they are just that, referring to the capital city alone, rather than the ROC, which, Jaanson said, was the result of pressure from Beijing.

Jaanson also called inward investment into Lithuania of around €200 million from Taiawan, since the opening of the embassy, as "very positive".

A good example of potential cooperation between Taipei and Tallinn would be education, Jaanson added – for instance via student exchanges, while for its part, Estonia could do more to support Taiwan, for instance by recognizing its drivers' licenses.

Frank Jüris noted that, as with Russia, if the PRC's aggression is not explicitly responded to, it will only grow in size, and also drew a parallel between that and Russia's aggression in Ukraine.

At the same time, as an island, con1quering Taiwan would be a huge undertaking, Jüris said, and preparations would likely be detected by intelligence and other sources. The current blockade the PRC instituted around Taiwan last week, following House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit there, in defiance of Beijing's desires, was a relatively small undertaking by comparison, he said, and is unlikely to escalate into war.

Nonetheless, Beijing is already making some preparations, including rehearsals involving mock-ups of US aircraft carriers set up, not at sea, but in the Xinjiang desert, while the subjugation of Taiwan is ultimately a long-term goal for the PRC.

Following the Maoist revolution of 1949, Taiwan became home to what remained of the Republic of China, but was never recognized as such by Beijing.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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