A delegation from Taiwan will travel to Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Lithuania.

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A delegation from Taiwan will travel to Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Lithuania.

Officials stated Tuesday that a delegation of Taiwanese government officials and businesspeople will go to Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Lithuania, defying Beijing’s resistance to any diplomatic links with Taipei.

According to Chen Li-kuo, chief of the Taiwanese foreign ministry’s European affairs department, the 65-member group will tour the three nations between October 20 and 30 to promote economic connections and investment.

He told a virtual press briefing that “we have continued to deepen our relations with Central and Eastern European countries… in a gesture of unity and goodwill among international democratic partners.”

All three countries have given Taiwan coronavirus vaccines and have showed signals of wanting deeper ties with the island, despite China’s displeasure.

Lithuania has taken the lead in this area.

Taiwan stated in July that it would open a representative office in Vilnius under the name “Taiwan” rather than “Taipei,” a significant diplomatic shift.

Beijing removed its ambassador from Lithuania and insisted that Vilnius follow suit, which it did.

“Despite external threats, Taiwan and Lithuania’s desire to deepen connections has remained unchanged,” Chen said, adding that preparations for the Taiwan office are moving “smoothly.”

Only 15 nations recognize Taipei as a legitimate rival to Beijing, which claims the self-governing democratic island as part of its territory and has promised to reclaim it — by force if necessary.

Beijing wants to keep Taipei isolated on the international stage, and any official usage of the phrase “Taiwan” is frowned upon for fear of endowing the island with international legitimacy.

Lithuania stated earlier this year that it was leaving China’s 17+1 cooperation forum with Central and Eastern European countries, calling it “divisive.”

Lithuania, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Poland have all agreed to send coronavirus vaccinations to Taiwan.

Slovakia is also considering sending a delegation to Taiwan, according to Chen, and the two countries will debate the topic during Chen’s visit next month.

Closer connections with Taiwan have also been advocated by Czech politicians.

In 2019, Prague canceled a sister-city relationship with Beijing and inked one with Taipei, while China was enraged by Czech senate leader Milos Vystrcil’s high-profile visit to Taiwan last year.

Since President Tsai Ing-victory wen’s in 2016, Beijing has increased the pressure and kidnapped seven of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies, claiming that the island is a de facto autonomous nation that is not part of “one China.”

Taiwan and Somaliland opened reciprocal representative offices under the name “Taiwan” for the first time last year, but Somaliland, unlike Lithuania, has no diplomatic relations with Beijing.

Brief News from Washington Newsday.

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