《TAIPEI TIMES》 Estonia office plan still in works: MOFA
The national flag of Estonia flutters over the country’s parliament in Tallinn on April 4, 2019. Photo: Reuters
A FINE LINE: Although Estonia’s foreign minister said that Tallinn would not seek to develop political ties with Taipei, it supports Taiwan’s participation in world bodies
/ Staff writer, with CNA
A plan to open an economic or cultural representative office in Tallinn is still under discussion, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs （MOFA） said yesterday, after Estonian Public Broadcasting’s English-language news site reported on Friday that the Estonian government had agreed to open the office using the name “Taipei.”
Estonian Minister of Public Affairs Margus Tsahkna told ERR News that the country was prepared to open an office to boost ties with Taiwan, but would still follow Tallin’s “one China” policy and would not develop political ties with Taipei.
“Just like many other European Union countries, Estonia is ready to accept the establishment of a nondiplomatic economic or cultural representation of Taipei in order to promote such relations,” Tsahkna said.
However, Estonia does not recognize Taiwan as a country, he said.
“We will not develop political relations with Taiwan within the framework of the ‘one China’ policy,” he said. “At the same time, we consider it important to boost relations with Taiwan in the fields of the economy, education, culture, relations between civil society organizations and other such areas.”
The minister said that his country supports Taiwan’s participation in international affairs, such as global efforts to combat pandemics and Taipei’s participation in the WHO.
“Reinvigorating relations with Taiwan does not contradict the ‘one China’ policy,” Tsahkna said.
Tsahkna said that Estonia wants its China policy to be in step with that of the EU and that it wants to develop cooperation with like-minded partners.
“The more united we are on China, the better for all democratic countries,” he said.
In Taipei, MOFA said in a statement that talks related to Taiwan opening a representative office in Estonia were still under way and that a consensus had not yet been reached.
It expressed gratitude to the Estonian government for its willingness to talk about potentially opening a representative office and said that the ministry was open to discussing the matter further.
Taiwan and Estonia are aware that the establishment of a representative office would help boost bilateral exchanges, the statement said, adding that Taiwan and Estonia are like-minded partners and have shared democratic values.
In May, Estonia, for the first time, called for Taiwan to be included in the WHO during the third day of the World Health Assembly （WHA） in Geneva, MOFA said, adding that the two are developing a solid relationship.
In her address during the 76th WHA, the WHO’s annual decision-making forum, Estonian Minister of Health Riina Sikkut said her country believed the organization should “facilitate inclusion and meaningful participation of all partners, including Taiwan, and this would benefit global health.”
MOFA said the ministry would continue to bolster ties and push for exchanges with Estonia and other like-minded countries.
The ERR News report also said that Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu （吳釗燮） is to visit Estonia next week to attend a seminar at the International Centre for Defense and Security in Tallinn.
MOFA said it would release more information on Wu’s visit at an “appropriate time.”