Estonia permits Taiwan to open representative office in Tallinn

The ceremonial raising of the Taiwanese flag at the country's presidential palace in Taipei.
The ceremonial raising of the Taiwanese flag at the country's presidential palace in Taipei. Source: SCANPIX / REUTERS / CARLOS GARCIA RAWLINS

Taiwan will be allowed to open an economic or cultural representative office in Estonia under the name Taipei, the government agreed. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasized Estonia still follows the One China policy, does not recognize Taiwan, and will not develop political relations with the nation.

"Just like many other European Union countries, Estonia is ready to accept the establishment of a non-diplomatic economic or cultural representation of Taipei in order to promote such relations," said Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus (Eesti 200) in a statement after a regular review of the government's China's policy on Thursday.

Taipei is Taiwan's capital and its economic and cultural missions are often opened under the name Taipei not Taiwan.

"Estonia does not recognize Taiwan as a state. We will not develop political relations with Taiwan within the framework of the One China policy," Tsahkna stressed. "At the same time, we consider it important to boost relations with Taiwan in the fields of the economy, education, culture, relations between civil society organizations and other such areas."

"We also support Taiwan's participation in international affairs in areas of global interest, such as the fight against pandemics and Taiwan's participation in the World Health Organization. Reinvigorating relations with Taiwan does not contradict the One China policy," the minister added.

The One China principle is the position held by the ruling Chinese Communist Party that there is only one sovereign state under the name China, with the People's Republic of China serving as the sole legitimate government of that China, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna (Eesti 200). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Estonia follows the One China policy

Tsahkna said Estonia wants its China policy to match the European Union's and to develop cooperation with like-minded partners.

"The more united we are on China, the better for all democratic countries," he emphasized.

"As we have declared as the European Union, for us, China is a partner, a competitor, and a rival. All these aspects must be taken into account in our China policy," the foreign minister said. "We attach great importance to a constructive relationship with Beijing, among other things to address various global and regional challenges, and to settle differences peacefully. For example, it is important that China does not support Russian aggression and is guided by the principles of a rules-based world order. This is something we constantly emphasize in our relations."

"Obviously, it is also important for us to defend our fundamental values, including democracy and human rights. We underline this in every meeting with Chinese representatives," Tsahkna confirmed.

Taiwanese FM to visit Estonia next week

Taiwan's Minister of Foreign Affairs Jaushieh Joseph Wu will visit Estonia next week and participate in a seminar at the International Centre for Defense and Security (ICDS) in Tallinn. He will not officially meet with members of the government during his visit.

"Mr Wu is not in Estonia at the invitation of the Government or its members, and as we do not have political relations with Taiwan, members of the Government of the Republic will not meet him," the Estonian foreign minister said.

"At the same time, we see nothing wrong with Wu visiting Estonia. In a democratic country, Estonian citizens have the right and the freedom to meet with everyone, to hold joint discussions, and also to promote cooperation, as long as this does not violate the laws in force in Estonia," added Tsahkna.

"It is critical for international security and stability that the disagreements surrounding the Taiwan Strait remain within a peaceful framework. Estonia underlines this principle consistently and consistently," said the minister.


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Editor: Mait Ots, Helen Wright

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