Slovenia leader calls Taiwan a ‘country’, supports opening trade offices

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New Delhi, Jan 18 (CNA) Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa called Taiwan a “democratic country” and said his country was in talks with Taiwan to open trade offices in each other’s territory.

In an interview with India’s public service broadcaster Doordarshan on Monday, Jansa said Taiwan is a “democratic country” that abides by international democratic standards and international laws, and that Slovenia and Taiwan are working on the exchange of representatives.

“It won’t be at the level of embassies. It will be at the same level that many EU member countries already have,” he said.

“If we had had stronger coalitions in previous years, I think we would have established such trade representation offices in the past, because this is a matter of common interest,” he said. declared.

He did not say where the talks stand or whether he would follow the Lithuanian model on the name Taiwan would use for the office in Slovenia.

Lithuania let Taiwan call its office the “Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania” rather than the standard “Taipei Representative Office”, a designation that sparked heavy retaliation from Beijing because it implied that Taiwan is an entity sovereign.

Jansa didn’t see the name as a problem and felt China’s reaction had gone too far.

“There is a large majority of EU member countries that hold some sort of representative office with Taiwan. Lithuania is no exception. There are some slight differences in the naming of missions, but that is not important,” he said.

“China protested every time some European countries established such offices, but they never went as far as they did in this case. It is terrifying to try to isolate a small country that also fought for its independence 30 years ago.”

He also said it was unfortunate that Beijing opposes Taiwan’s inclusion in the World Health Organization.

“I think it would also be beneficial for China if a neighboring country were a member of such an organization, because we saw exactly in this pandemic situation that the virus knows no borders,” he said. declared.

Jansa said Slovenia currently has “normal relations” with Taiwan, and when it was clear that Taiwan was responding well to the COVID-19 pandemic, he “personally called Taiwan’s health minister.” [Chen Shih-chung (陳時中)] to exchange their experiences.

China & Russia

Jansa also expressed concern over the Russian threat against Ukraine and warned against possible coordination between Moscow and Beijing on several fronts.

“I’m afraid that some people in China and Russia want to exploit this situation, and that’s why I think this pressure on Ukraine and on NATO at the same time from Russia and Beijing on Taipei on Taiwan , they’re kind of coordinated,” he said.

“If someone is pushed to deal with two crises, two major crises in two different parts of the world, you have to divide the diplomatic, economic and military efforts… We have to be aware of that because it makes everything even more dangerous. “

Meanwhile, the Slovenian leader also said he would support any decision made by the Taiwanese people on whether to unite with China or become an independent state.

“If they want to join China, if it is their free will without any pressure, without any military intervention and without any blackmail, without strategic cheating like what is happening in Hong Kong now, then we will support it,” he said. -he declares.

“But if Taiwanese people want to live independently, we are here to support that position as well.”

Asked to comment on Jansa’s remarks, Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) on Tuesday expressed her gratitude for her pro-Taiwan comments.

However, she did not want to comment on the bilateral talks on the opening of a reciprocal trade office mentioned by Jansa.

(By Emerson Lim and Joseph Yeh)

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