Eleven Lithuanian MPs to visit Taiwan, meet new president

  • 2024-01-15
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – The board of the Lithuanian parliament has given the green light for a delegation of 11 MPs to visit Taipei and meet with Taiwanese officials on January 20-27. 

"The Lithuanian delegation will be the first to meet with Taiwan's newly elected president," Vytautas Mitalas, deputy speaker of the Seimas and a member of its board, told BNS. 

"I believe this is a very important that would help bring our nations closer," he added.   

Taiwan's ruling party candidate Lai Ching-te, branded by China as a threat to peace, was elected the island's president on Saturday.

Jonas Jarutis of the opposition Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LFGU) did not approve of the Lithuanian delegation's trip to Taipei. 

"How do these trips fit in with Lithuania's position, which has been stated by the foreign minister, that we support the One-China policy?" Jarutis asked rhetorically. "Does the Seimas have its own separate foreign policy from the government?"  

Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen, speaker of the parliament, said the development of parliamentary, economic and people-to-people relations with democracies in the Indo-Pacific region is part of the parliament's work, so the delegation's trip does not contradict Lithuania's commitments in any way.

She visited Taipei last October.

China regards democratic and self-governing Taiwan as part of its territory and vows to reclaim the island someday.  

Vilnius angered Beijing in 2021 when it allowed Taipei to open its representative office in the Lithuanian capital with the word "Taiwanese", rather than "Taipei's", in its name.

In response, Beijing downgraded its relations with Vilnius and blocked Lithuanian exports and imports. Later, bilateral trade started to recover.