Latvian MPs head to Taiwan for Open Parliament Forum

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Representatives of the Latvian Saeima, as well as counterparts from Estonia and Lithuania, are attending the Open Parliament Forum in Taiwan, a move likely to prompt the ire of China, which claims the island republic as its own territory. Taiwan insists it is an independent country in its own right.

Latvia's contingent includes Jānis Vucāns (Greens and Farmers Union, opposition), who chairs the Saeima's group for support of Taiwan and Ainars Latkovskis (New Unity, government coalition), the group's deputy chair. 

Matas Maldeikis and Juri Jaanson, members of parliament and chairs of Taiwan friendship groups in Lithuania and Estonia, respectively head up their countries' presence.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan showed Baltic lawmakers being wined and dined prior to the start of the forum on December 2, and said they would be staying for eight days.

According to the ministry, around a dozen lawmakers from Europe and Latin America will visit Taiwan for the forum.


The Baltic contingent was also welcomed by Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen at the Presidential Office. In remarks at the meeting, President Tsai stated that Taiwan is willing to cooperate with the three Baltic states to develop stronger and closer ties.

President Tsai said: "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."

"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 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," President Tsai said.


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