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Foreign Minister Wu addresses Future of Democracy forum in Lithuania, underlines importance of unity among global democracies

  • Date:2023-11-10
  • Data Source:Department of European Affairs

November 10, 2023
No. 386

At the invitation of the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China (Taiwan) Jaushieh Joseph Wu attended and delivered an address at the opening of the Future of Democracy High-Level Forum on Defending Against Authoritarianism on November 10. Minister Wu stressed that his visit to Lithuania was significant not only for himself but also for the people of Taiwan and the friendship between the two countries. Lithuania had been through a process of fighting against the Soviet Union to regain independence and now enjoyed freedom and democracy, which he said was inspirational to the Taiwanese people. 

Explaining that Taiwan had long faced a challenging international environment, Minister Wu said the Taiwanese people were deeply touched when Lithuania agreed to Taiwan setting up a representative office using the word Taiwanese in its name. He recalled that Lithuania was the first European nation to donate vaccines to Taiwan during the height of the pandemic and that several Lithuanian political leaders had visited and publicly voiced support for Taiwan. He stressed that although Lithuania might not be a big country, to Taiwan, it was definitely a moral superpower.

Minister Wu emphasized that the bond between Taiwan and Lithuania was rooted in a common commitment to safeguarding freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. With both countries on the democratic front line and under the shadow of authoritarian expansionism, they had worked fearlessly together to foster peace, stability, and prosperity among democratic partners.

Turning to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Minister Wu said the war demonstrated the devastation that authoritarian regimes could cause. He condemned autocracies for their utter contempt for human dignity and violation of the fundamental United Nations tenet of peaceful settlement of international disputes. He noted that the people and government of Taiwan had actively worked together with Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and other partners in Central and Eastern Europe to deliver humanitarian assistance and donations to the Ukrainian people.

Minister Wu acknowledged that the lack of an effective response from the democratic world to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 had fueled Russia’s ambitions, stressing that this was an important lesson for democracies. He added that the Indo-Pacific was facing increasing authoritarian expansionism and that China’s unceasing gray-zone activities in the Taiwan Strait, the East and South China Seas, and other areas had sparked dangerous tensions with Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

In conclusion, Minister Wu emphasized that unity was the true spirit of defending democracy. He said that just as democracies in the Indo-Pacific and Europe had stood together to push back against Russian aggression against Ukraine, European partners had warned China to stop its aggression. He expressed his firm belief that through joint cooperation, democratic partners would foster a world where people could shape their own destinies free from oppression and fear and continue to stand tall in welcoming the future.

The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs holds the high-level Future of Democracy Forum each year to respond to the shrinking international democratic space and the growing influence of authoritarian regimes. Foreign ministers of global democracies, representatives of international organizations, freedom activists, academics, and free media organizations are invited to attend. Then Vice President Chen Chien-jen represented Taiwan at the forum in 2021. This year, Minister Wu was invited to attend and deliver a speech as a special guest. His remarks were well received by the political leaders and academics in attendance. Taiwan’s participation demonstrates that European countries recognize Taiwan as a democratic partner and are concerned about the link between the security of the Taiwan Strait and that of Europe. (E)