Lithuanian Parliament’s security & defense committee to visit Taiwan

A delegation from the Lithuanian Parliament’s Committee on National Security and Defense will arrive in Taiwan for a six-day visit on Monday, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).

The nine-member delegation will be headed by lawmakers Laurynas Kasciunas, chair of the committee, and Dovile Sakaliene, vice chair of Lithuanian Parliamentary Relations Group with the Republic of China (Taiwan), MOFA said in a press release.

During the delegation’s stay from Jan. 9 to Jan. 14, its members will meet with President Tsai Ing-wen (???) and other senior government officials including National Security Council Secretary-General Wellington Koo (???).

They will also visit Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council in charge of Chinese affairs, MOFA, the Ministry of the Interior, and the Ministry of National Defense (MND), MOFA said.

These parliamentarians will meet with local defense and security think tanks to learn the latest cross-Strait situation and exchange views on the hybrid security threat Taiwan and Europe are facing now and gain a better understanding of Taiwan’s all-out-defense program, it added.

Other members of the delegation include lawmakers Audronius Ažubalis, Eugenijus Sabutis, Edita Rudeliene, Ieva Pakarklyte, and their aides, according to MOFA.

The upcoming trip comes following four deputy-ministerial-level visits in 2022, including by Lithuania’s Vice Minister of Economy and Innovation Karolis Žemaitis in September; his predecessor Jovita Neliupšiene on June 12, Vice Agricultural Minister Egidijus Giedraitis on June 22, and Deputy Transportation Minister Agne Vaiciukeviciute on Aug. 6, MOFA said.

As Lithuania’s ties with Taiwan have improved, however, the Baltic state has come under heavy political and economic pressure from Beijing over the name of Taiwan’s office there — the Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania.

Taiwan typically names its overseas representative offices “Taipei Economic and Cultural Office” or “Taipei Representative Office,” in keeping with the host countries’ preference to avoid any references that would imply Taiwan is a separate country from China.

Beijing, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory, has sought to impose a political cost on Lithuania for its decision to allow the inclusion of “Taiwanese” in the name of Taiwan’s office, seeing such moves as encouraging formal independence.

Recent punitive measures have included recalling its ambassador to Lithuania, downgrading diplomatic relations, expelling the Lithuanian ambassador to China, suspending direct freight rail services, and banning Lithuanian products from entering the Chinese market.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel