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President Tsai meets delegation of parliamentarians from Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia
President Tsai meets delegation of parliamentarians from Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia

On the morning of November 29, President Tsai Ing-wen met at the Presidential Office with the first-ever joint delegation of parliamentarians from Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia to visit Taiwan, including the heads of the three Baltic states' parliamentary groups for friendship with Taiwan. In remarks at the meeting, President Tsai stated that Taiwan is willing to cooperate with our European friends to defend our shared values and protect our free and democratic way of life, and expressed hope that by working together, Taiwan and the three Baltic states can develop stronger and closer ties.

A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:

It's a pleasure to welcome your group. This is the first time the parliaments of all three Baltic states have formed a joint delegation to visit Taiwan. I would like to thank Mr. Matas Maldeikis, Mr. Jānis Vucāns, and Mr. Jüri Jaanson for organizing such a meaningful trip. And I thank your entire delegation for traveling to participate in this year's Open Parliament Forum. I am looking forward to your sharing experiences of the Baltic nations in strengthening democracy. During your visit, you will also see the efforts that Taiwan has made to achieve open government, open parliament, and civic engagement.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Lithuania for donating two batches of vaccines to Taiwan when we experienced a serious COVID-19 outbreak this year. This demonstrated how democratic allies support each other. We have lately seen exchanges between Taiwan and Lithuania growing increasingly close in many different areas. Recently, the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs invited former Vice President Chen Chien-jen to attend a democracy forum in Vilnius and share Taiwan's democratic experience with the international community. This month, The Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania officially opened. We expect Lithuania to establish a representative office in Taiwan early next year.

Last month, National Development Council Minister Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) led a trade and investment delegation to Lithuania, where he signed six MOUs to strengthen bilateral cooperation in semiconductors, satellites, biotechnology, and other areas. We look forward to more collaboration and exchanges with Latvia and Estonia as well.

Taiwan and the Baltic states share a common history: we all endured authoritarian rule, and, in the course of fighting for our freedom, learned how precious democracy is. Now, as the world faces an expansion of authoritarianism and threats from disinformation, Taiwan is more than willing to share our experience in combating disinformation with our European friends. We must cooperate to safeguard our shared values and protect our free and democratic way of life.

Once again, welcome to Taiwan. I look forward to working together to further develop stronger and closer ties between Taiwan and the Baltic states. I wish you a successful and fruitful trip.

The following is a transcript of remarks delivered by Matas Maldeikis, member of Lithuania's parliament and head of its Taiwan friendship group:

We pay respect to Taiwanese people for their perseverance and wisdom. You managed to build your democracy while balancing at the same time in a very complicated geopolitical environment. We are here to express our solidarity with you.

The Lithuanian government's policy toward Taiwan has wide support in our society. Preserving freedom and the rules-based international order is a vital interest of both Taiwan and Lithuania. We must strengthen our ties and work together for this aim.

There are lots of opportunities for economic and cultural cooperation between our countries. Long-term, stable, and efficient cooperation is possible precisely because our societies are based on the same principles of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. We hope that the soon-to-be-opened Lithuanian trade office in Taiwan will help to expand the partnership between Taiwan and Lithuania, and contribute to a closer relationship between Taiwan and the whole European Union.

The delegation was jointly led by Matas Maldeikis, head of Lithuania's Parliamentary Group for Relations with Taiwan; Jānis Vucāns, chairman of Latvia's Group for Interparliamentary Relations with Taiwan; and Jüri Jaanson, chairman of the Estonia-Taiwan Friendship Group. They were accompanied to the Presidential Office by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Tien Chung-kwang (田中光), with Secretary-General to the President David T. Lee (李大維) also in attendance.

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