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Estonian Lawmaker Favors Opening Bilateral Offices With Taiwan

Visiting Estonian lawmaker Marko Mihkelson on Thursday welcomed the idea that Taiwan’s government and its Estonian counterpart open an office in each other’s capital to boost bilateral relations.

It would be “easier” for both sides to promote people-to-people ties and trade and economic relations with such “contact points” in Tallinn and Taipei, Mihkelson said during an interview with CNA, in response to a question on the possibility of Taiwan establishing a representative office in his country.

“I would definitely argue [the point], seeing that 16 EU member states have trade offices in Taipei,” he said, adding that he looks forward to seeing the Estonian flag fly among other EU nations in Taipei one day.

Mihkelson noted that the issue was also brought up during his meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) earlier the same day but that this would be a decision made between both governments.Estonian lawmaker Marko Mihkelson speaks at the Presidential Office on Thursday.

Taiwan has established representative offices in the other two Baltic nations, Latvia and Lithuania, in the absence of formal diplomatic relations. Lithuania also set up a trade office in Taipei last year, as part of a reciprocal deal with Taiwan.

Mihkelson said the main aim of his current trip to Taiwan is to learn about the “current situation in and around Taiwan” and look for opportunities to enhance bilateral ties.

Mihkelson, who serves as chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Estonian Parliament, arrived in Taiwan last Sunday with his Lithuanian counterpart Žygimantas Pavilionis and Latvian counterpart Rihards Kols, for a six-day visit.

According to the Estonian politician, there are “numerous” exchanges in the field of civil defense and cybersecurity between Taiwan and the Baltic nations in the private sector, such as think tanks and universities.

Given Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and China’s increasing assertiveness in the Asian region, he said, “small democracies must cooperate close[ly].”Estonian lawmaker Marko Mihkelson.

He mentioned in particular that his delegation held discussions with Taiwan’s Ministry of Digital Affairs on how democracies could work together to build more resilient open societies.

Mihkelson’s comments echoed his earlier remarks at the Presidential Office, where he told Tsai that he looked forward to seeing Taiwan and the Baltic nations develop a closer friendship in the future.

“No democracy should be left alone,” he said, adding that his current visit from Aug. 6-11 is a show of “solidarity” as both sides are in “close neighborhood of recently very aggressive, big authoritarian regimes.”

Tsai, meanwhile, expressed hope that Taiwan and the Baltic states can deepen their cooperation in national defense and cybersecurity, in the face of authoritarian expansion.

The meeting was also attended by Pavilionis and Kols, as well as the head of the Lithuanian trade office in Taiwan Paulius Lukauskas.

Source: Focus Taiwan