Taiwan's lawmakers visit Ukrainian child refugees in Slovakia

07/09/2022 12:48 PM
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Photo courtesy of Taiwan
Photo courtesy of Taiwan's representative office in Bratislava

Berlin, July 8 (CNA) A delegation of Taiwanese legislators visited Ukrainian children who fled to the Slovak Republic in the wake of Russian invasion, during a trip to the Central European country, Taiwan's representative office in Bratislava said on Friday.

The lawmakers from the Legislative Yuan's Taiwan-Slovakia Inter-Parliamentary Amity Association visited a Ukrainian child refugee education center, which was set up through donations from Taiwan, the representative office said in a statement.

They were touched when they listened to these Ukrainian child refugees in Slovakia sing their national anthem. They also watched a performance of Ukrainian folk songs, the representative office said.

The office said the visiting Taiwanese lawmakers hoped the Russia-Ukraine war, which broke out on Feb. 24, will end as soon as possible so that Ukrainian refugees can go home.

It was the first time for the parliamentary group to visit the Central European country after the organization was established on June 9 in Taipei.

The delegation, which stayed in Slovakia from July 5-8, is headed by Hsu Chih-chieh (許智傑) and includes Wang Ting-yu (王定宇), Shen Fa-hui (沈發惠), Lin Chu-yin (林楚茵) and Chuang Jui-hsiung (莊瑞雄), all from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party.

They were invited to visit Slovakia by Deputy Speaker of the Slovak National Council Milan Laurenčík, who led a parliamentary delegation to Taipei in early June.

In the statement, the representative office said during their stay in Slovakia, the Taiwanese delegation was accompanied by Laurenčík, Peter Osuský, who serves as chairman of the Slovakia-Taiwan Parliamentary Group, and two other Slovakia lawmakers -- Tomas Lehotsky and Andrej Stančík -- when they toured Bratislava Castle in the capital.

The representative office added the visit by the Taiwanese legislative delegation marked an important milestone between Taipei and Bratislava as the trip took place in just one month after Laurenčík led his delegation to Taiwan, indicating both sides have forged a warm relationship.

During his visit to Taiwan from June 5-10, Laurenčík voiced support for Taiwan's participation in the international community and urged the two sides to push for further development of the bilateral ties.

When he met with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on June 7, Laurenčík said Slovakia would stand with Taiwan as it resists strong powers that threaten democracy, adding both Taiwan and Slovakia had gone through long and difficult journeys to achieve democracy.

On June 8, Taiwan and Slovakia signed an agreement on Judicial Cooperation in Civil and Commercial Matters, the first of its kind signed by Taiwan with a European Union country.

Lawmakers in Taiwan often travel overseas in the summer during the Legislative Yuan recess, before the lawmaker body reopens in September.

Over the past two years, however, due to travel restrictions imposed for the COVID-19 pandemic, they rarely traveled overseas during the legislative break.

(By Lin Yu-li and Frances Huang)

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