German, Lithuanian delegations visit Taiwan to discuss defense amid Beijing threat

German and Lithuanian parliamentary delegations traveled to Taiwan this week to meet with Taiwanese defense officials as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continues to exert military pressure on the autonomous island.

A nine-member Lithuanian delegation arrived in Taiwan on Sunday for a six-day visit “to show the solidarity and cooperation of front-line democracies”. Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The delegation was led by the chairman of the National Defense Committee, Laurinus Kasunas, and the deputy chairman of the Lithuanian-Taiwan parliamentary friendship group, Dvir Sakaryene, the ministry said.

A German delegation headed by Marie-Agnes Struck-Zimmermann, Chairman of the National Defense Commission, and Johannes Vogel, Vice-President of the Liberal Democratic Party, visited Taiwan for four days.

During their visit to Taiwan, the two delegations will meet with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and other high-ranking officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Defense, the ministry said.

Their discussion will focus on stability across the Taiwan Strait, where the Chinese Communist Party is ramping up its military activity. The ministry said the Lithuanian delegation will also meet with a local security think tank to discuss the security challenges facing Taiwan and Europe and their respective defenses.

On the day the Lithuanian delegation arrived in Taiwan, the CCP military conducted combat exercises in the waters and airspace around Taiwan, sending 57 aircraft and four naval vessels to the island nation.

Taiwan’s defense ministry said 28 fighter jets entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone and crossed the center line of the Taiwan Strait, prompting the scramble of aircraft, naval vessels and land-based missile systems.

Epoch Times photo
China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command aircraft conduct a joint combat training exercise around Taiwan on August 7, 2022. (Li Bingyu/Xinhua via AP)

The Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese Communist Party’s military arm, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), said the purpose of the combat training was to counter what it called “provocations” by Taiwan and outside forces.

However, Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense cited the PLA’s recent intrusion of aircraft into the Taiwan Strait Central Line, saying the PLA’s “false accusations and unreasonable provocations” have significantly destabilized regional security. said.

“We are not seeking escalation or disputes,” the ministry said. statement. “[Taiwan’s] Troops are constantly monitoring the surrounding area and responding to activity accordingly. We can do it and keep our homeland safe. ”

Taiwan has maintained an autonomous democracy since the end of the civil war in 1949, but the Chinese Communist Party considers it its own territory. It sees Taiwan as a separate province that must be integrated with mainland China by taking the necessary steps. The CCP leadership has not ruled out the use of force to achieve this goal.

The Chinese Communist Party will send 71 planes and seven ships to the island on Dec. 25, 2022, making it the first since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) visited Taiwan in 2020. It regularly uses its armed forces to intimidate Taiwan with maximum force. August last year.

Europe and NATO ‘too naive’

Last week, Anders Vor Rasmussen, former head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and former Danish prime minister, urged the European Union and NATO to train Taiwan’s forces and prepare for an attack by imposing painful economic sanctions on Beijing. asked to plan

Epoch Times photo
NATO Secretary General Anders Vor Rasmussen will hold a press conference on June 8, NATO Defense Ministers will meet at the Organization Headquarters in Brussels. (John Tis/AFP/Getty Images)

Rasmussen, who was the leader of the Transatlantic Alliance from 2009 to 2014, said EU and NATO members should be prepared to “make mainland China think twice” about aggression.

He is currently president and founder of the Denmark-based Democratic Alliance Foundation, which aims to promote unity between democratically elected nations in the face of authoritarian aggression.

“The similarities with Russia and Ukraine are hard to ignore. We must not make the same mistakes.” [CCP leader Xi Jinping] During a visit to Taiwan on January 5, he said:

Rasmussen said, “The most important way to stop China’s move to Taiwan is to ensure Ukraine’s victory in the current conflict.”

“If Russia can seize territory by force and establish a new status quo, it will set a precedent. Dictators everywhere will eventually learn that military aggression works,” he said. rice field.

Rasmussen said European and NATO powers were “too naive” before Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and risked repeating China’s mistakes.

He believes Xi Jinping will watch the war in Ukraine closely before deciding to attack Taiwan.

“The world has not paid enough attention to the tensions in the Taiwan Strait,” he said. We therefore have a global interest in preventing these tensions from escalating into armed conflict.”

Bryan Jung and Reuters contributed to this report.

Aldogra Fredry

Aldgra Fredly is a Malaysia-based freelance writer covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.