'We are here to express solidarity with you': Lithuanian MP to Tsai
Taipei, Nov. 29 (CNA) The head of the Taiwan friendship group in the Lithuanian Parliament on Monday said he and members of Parliament (MPs) from the Baltic states are visiting Taiwan to show their support for the country amid the Chinese threat it faces.
"We are here to express solidarity with you," Matas Maldeikis, a member of Lithuania's Parliament, told President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) during a visit on Monday morning.
Maldeikis is leading a joint delegation made up of MPs from Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia who arrived in Taiwan to participate in a conference on democracy to be held later this week in Taipei.
While meeting Tsai, Maldeikis said the members of the joint delegation respect Taiwanese people's "perseverance and wisdom" in managing to build a successful economy and promote democracy while balancing a "complicated geopolitical environment."
He said the Lithuanian government's pro-Taiwan policy has received wide support at home because "preserving freedom and the rules-based international order is of vital interest for both Lithuania and Taiwan."
Maldeikis also said that he hopes the soon-to-be-opened Lithuanian trade office in the country will help to expand the partnership between the two countries and contribute to closer relations between Taiwan and the European Union (EU).
President Tsai welcomed the Baltic states' parliamentarians to attend the 2021 Open Parliament Forum which will discuss the promotion of democracy and open parliaments from Dec. 2-3.
Their visit marks the first time Parliaments of all three Baltic states have sent a joint delegation to Taiwan, according to Tsai.
"Taiwan and the Baltic nations share similar experiences of breaking free of authoritarian rule and fighting for freedom," she said.
"The democracy we enjoy today was hard-earned. This is something we all understand most profoundly," she added.
As the world faces challenges caused by the expansion of authoritarianism and threat of disinformation, Taiwan is willing to share its experience combating disinformation with its European friends, the president said.
Other members of the delegation that visited the Presidential Office Monday included Janis Vucans and Juri Jaanson, members of Parliament and chairs of Taiwan friendship groups in Latvia and Estonia, respectively.
They will join other lawmakers from Belize and Mexico for the two-day event organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Legislative Yuan and U.S.-headquartered nonprofit National Democratic Institute.
A host of experts, scholars and parliamentarians from countries including Argentina, Australia, Czechia, France, Germany, Japan, Sri Lanka, the U.K. and U.S. will take part virtually, MOFA added.
The visit comes at a time when Taiwan is enhancing exchanges with the EU and improving ties with the bloc's member states, in particular Lithuania.
Earlier this month, Taiwan inaugurated its representative office in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, as part of a reciprocal deal the two nations reached in August, which will also see Lithuania open a representative office in Taipei early next year.
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