A delegation of lawmakers led by Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃) arrived in Lithuania on Thursday after wrapping up a four-day visit to the Czech Republic.
The delegation was received by Lithuanian Seimas Speaker Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen, who hosted a dinner banquet in Vilnius for them, the Lithuanian parliament said.
The delegation was yesterday scheduled to meet with Seimas deputy speakers Radvile Morkunaite-Mikuleniene and Pauliumi Saudargu, as well as members of the Seimas’ foreign affairs and European affairs committees.
Photo: AFP
The delegation was also to visit the Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights in the former KGB headquarters in Vilnius.
The museum is dedicated to collecting and exhibiting documents related to the occupation of Lithuania by Germany during World War II and the Soviet Union after the war, anti-Soviet partisans, and the victims of arrests, deportations and executions from the 1940s to Lithuania’s independence in 1990. It is regarded as one of the most important landmarks of democracy in the country.
During their three-day visit, the delegation is also scheduled to visit other venues commemorating Lithuania’s democratization, including the site of the Baltic way, a peaceful political protest on Aug. 23, 1989, when political speech was strictly regulated by the Soviet authorities.
Besides You, the delegation consists of Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Huang Shih-chieh (黃世杰), Taiwan People’s Party Legislator Jang Chyi-lu (張其祿) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Kung Wen-chi (孔文吉) and Wan Mei-ling (萬美玲), who heads the Taiwan-Czech Parliamentary Amity Association.
Raigirdas Boruta, a policy analyst at the Eastern Europe Studies Centre, an independent think tank that focuses Lithuania’s role in international policy processes, told the Central News Agency that You is the second highest-raking Taiwanese official to visit the country, adding that this showed that Taipei places strong emphasis on its ties with the Baltic state.
At the invitation of the Seimas, Taipei sent a separate delegation to a conference in Vilnius earlier this month to mark the centenary of Lithuania’s establishment of diplomatic relations with the US.
That delegation included Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Harry Tseng (曾厚仁).
Boruta said that although Lithuania has been facing increased pressure from China since it started forging closer ties with Taiwan, Vilnius was still willing to receive You’s delegation, indicating that it is determined to further develop its ties with Taipei.
The Lithuanian government is keeping its promise to promote values-oriented diplomacy, which is grounded in an appreciation for diversity, dialogue, mutual understanding and peaceful resolutions of disputes in all domains of international relations, he added.
Boruta said that Lithuanians welcomed the delegation’s plans to visit democratic landmarks in the country, as this showed that Taipei pays close attention to the pain Lithuanians suffered when the country was occupied.
The visit to the museum would be the first by a Taiwanese delegation, showing that the two countries similarly emphasize historical events leading to democratization, he said.
As Lithuania’s ties with Taiwan have improved, Vilnius has come under heavy political and economic pressure from Beijing, in particular over the naming of Taiwan’s mission in Vilnius — the Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania.
On the way to Vilnius, You’s delegation transited in Warsaw, where they met with Polish lawmaker Waldemar Andzel, chairman of the Polish-Taiwanese Parliamentarian Group.
You invited Andzel, who has visited Taiwan twice, to visit the nation again.
You said Poland’s strong support for Ukraine during Russia’s invasion since Feb. 24 has moved the democratic world.
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