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Lawmakers from Baltic states to visit Taiwan amid threats from China

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Taipei | November 25, 2021 5:17:59 PM IST
About 10 parliamentarians from Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia will visit Taipei as part of a government-led forum in early December and meet top Taiwan top government officials, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said in a statement Wednesday.

The planned visit comes at a time when Taiwan is enhancing exchanges with the European Union and warming up ties with the bloc's member states, in particular Lithuania, Focus Taiwan reported citing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).

The delegation will consist of about 10 lawmakers and will be led by Matas Maldeikis, a member of Lithuania's parliament, Focus Taiwan reported.

This came days after Taiwan officially opened its new representative office in Lithuania, despite strong retaliation from Beijing.

As reported by Focus Taiwan, support from lawmakers for Taiwan's attempts to counter Chinese aggression has gained traction in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, in part because of the Baltic states' own historic struggle gaining independence from the former Soviet Union.

Meanwhile, MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou has also said that the delegation would participate in the 2021 Open Parliament Forum that will discuss the promotion of democracy and open parliaments.

Earlier, the European parliament had also sent its first-ever formal delegation to visit the island, defying Beijing's reluctance, The New York Times reported.

"We came here with a very simple, clear message; you are not alone," Raphael Glucksmann, a French member of the European Parliament and the leader of the delegation, told Taiwan's president Tsai Ing-wen adding that "Europe is standing with you."

Observers suggest that this is a response to China's increasingly assertive brand of authoritarianism under the Chinese Communist Party, The New York Times reported

This came as Beijing claims sovereignty over the democratic island and has increased military incursions in Taiwan.

Taiwan is a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the southeastern coast of mainland China.

Despite being governed separately for more than seven decades, China has threatened that "Taiwan's independence" means war. (ANI)

 
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