Lithuanian parliamentarians ask government to set up Taiwan office
Taipei, Oct. 7 (CNA) Three Lithuanian parliamentarians recently called on their government to work closer with Taiwan by establishing a representative office in the nation to demonstrate its support for democracy and freedom.
In a letter published by internet daily news portal Delfi on Oct. 1, Zygimantas Pavilionis, Audronius Azubalis, Ausrine Armonaite, three members of the Seimas or parliament of Lithuania, made the public call.
Pavilionis and Azubalis are members of the right-wing Homeland Union which has 30 seats in the 141-seat Seimas, and Armonaite represents the one seat held by the recently formed liberal Freedom Party.
This year marks 70 years since the founding of the People's Republic of China on Oct. 1, 1949, they said in the letter.
Instead of celebrating a day when many people became victims of communism in China, Lithuania should establish a representative office in Taiwan to show its support for Taiwan's democracy, they added
In the letter, the parliamentarians, who just concluded their first trip to Taiwan in August, said they were deeply impressed with the country's achievements in economics and trade, safeguarding democracy and freedom despite facing Chinese threats.
Although Taiwan is the world's 21st largest economy, bilateral trade with Lithuania was about US$160 million last year, the letter noted.
However, the relatively small number means there is huge potential for further cooperation between the two sides, it added.
Currently, Lithuania does not have a representative office in Taiwan, they said. However, many neighboring countries and members of European Union have set up offices in the country.
The parliamentarians called on the Lithuanian government to follow suit even though their country diplomatically recognizes Beijing not Taipei.
Asked to comment, Taiwan's foreign ministry spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) expressed gratitude for the letter of support.
The ministry looks forward to seeing the proposal become a reality in the near future and to forging closer bilateral exchanges, she added.
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