Taiwan Headlines, July 22: Love from Lithuania, Canada and US

Taiwan is to establish a “Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania,” and they will return the favour by opening an office in Taiwan by the end of the year.
Obviously having “Taiwanese” in the name is a big deal.
Of course everyone’s favourite CCP mouthpiece Global Times went nuts, running a piece entitled “‘Taiwan representative office’ shows ‘malicious intent’ of Lithuania that impacts foundation of China ties”.
The article goes on to include this:
“The US’ American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) applauded the decision, claiming that “all countries should be free to pursue closer ties and greater cooperation with Taiwan.”
Chinese experts told the Global Times that the US statement shows its evil political plan to encourage smaller countries to test China while Washington itself dares not to bear the consequences as it knows well how serious Beijing is on the Taiwan question.
Even a similar island’s mission in the US is named “Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US.”
True, but there are moves in the US Congress to pass legislation asking for it to be changed to “Taiwan Representative Office” which hopefully will pass and send a message to other countries.
Lithuania’s current government describes itself as “values-based” and has had some similar experiences as Taiwan, including foreign occupation, a transition to democracy and the threat of a giant, hostile neighbor.
Both Taiwan and Lithuania have helped each other during the pandemic, with Taiwan sending PPE early on and Vilnius donating 20,000 vaccines.
Lithuania is also in a position to make moves like this, with foreign direct investment from the PRC in the country in the low single digits.

The organizers of the annual Halifax defence and security forum have announced that for the first time, it will be holding a major meeting outside of Halifax–and will be moving it to Taipei.
Peter Van Praagh, the president of HFX, the organization that runs the Halifax International Security Forum, said Taiwan, as “one of Asia’s most vibrant democracies,” faces serious challenges and even threats right now.
“All people who value democracy will immediately recognize the importance of showing solidarity with the Taiwanese people at this time,” Mr. Van Praagh said.
The timing is particularly interesting, as it will take place just weeks before Beijing will play host to the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
The forum brings together more than 300 political leaders, military officials and academics for a weekend conference on geopolitical affairs.
Its goal is to strengthen co-operation among democracies.
It is also the organization that recently got in the news for honouring President Tsai with their prestigious John McCain Prize for Leadership in Public Service, calling her an inspiration for defending her people against the Chinese Communist Party’s aggression.
Under pressure from the Chinese ambassador, the Canadian government tried to block that award, threatening the forum with withdrawing funds.
When word got out, the Canadian House of Commons voted unanimously to support the award, calling Tsai an ideal candidate for the prize.
The forum often brings in high-profile people in government and from militaries from various countries, so this could be very helpful to Taiwan.

There have also been a long list of recent positive moves by the US.
Here is what that gem of Chinese Communist mouthpiecery Global Times had to say about one of those moves:
“Landing a civilian variant of military aircraft on the island of Taiwan is yet another “salami-slicing” provocation by the US, and it sent a wrong signal to Taiwan secessionists, Chinese mainland analysts said, after the US reportedly landed a civilian variant of a warplane on the island on Monday.
The Chinese mainland will not allow US military planes’ recent landings on the island of Taiwan to become routine, experts said.
A US L-100-30 aircraft, which was chartered by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and is a civilian-use version of the US military’s C-130 transport aircraft, landed at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Monday at noon, loaded and unloaded various cargos, and took off after about an hour, Taipei-based news website udn.com reported on Monday.”
There have been several cases recently where the US flew military planes to Taiwan quite openly and visibly.
How exactly does the PRC plan to stop them from becoming routine?
Interestingly, reports suggested this flight was to deliver a package to Sandra Oudkirk, the new director of the American Institute in Taiwan’s (AIT) Taipei office, who is currently under quarantine.
I hope it was a nice care package with plenty of American snacks.
Oudkirk, who was posted to Taiwan in the early 90s, said “Things have changed a lot! But what hasn’t changed is the warm friendliness of the Taiwan people, and my excitement at being here, in such a vibrant democracy.”
Hopefully she will be as good as outgoing Brent Christensen, who has been widely praised for his time here–and who I’ve only heard great things about.

Image courtesy of Lithuania MFA Twitter account

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