Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) said Wednesday that she appreciates the Hungarian government's kindness in granting her a visa to attend the annual meeting of Liberal International in Budapest.
"I admire Hungary's courage in rejecting China's protests and going ahead with its decision to grant me a visa," Lu said at a dinner given in her honor by Taiwan's Representative to Hungary Rock Leng.
"I will take advantage of this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude for Hungary's hospitality to me and my entourage."
Lu told dinner guests that a Beijing-based British journalist had interviewed her by phone earlier in the day, asking about her views on Beijing's wrath at her present trip.
"I told the British correspondent that Beijing's constant efforts to block top Taiwanese leaders' overseas visits, betray its disrespect for basic human rights," Lu said.
"I believe that more countries will learn from Hungary's courageous move in the future."
Lu also said she will praise Hungary's courage in upholding justice, freedom and human rights in a speech she will deliver at the opening session of the March 21 to March 23 Liberal International annual conference.
More than ten Hungarian dignitaries, including parliamentarians, political party heavyweights, scholars and industry executives, also attended the dinner.
Matyas Eoris, a Hungarian parliamentarian, said that he first met Lu in 1993, when she visited Budapest in her capacity as a legislator.
Eoris, who helped arrange Lu's current visit, said he was pleased to see Lu in Budapest again, as she would be able to witness the country's rise from communist rubble to a burgeoning market economy.
Lu arrived in Budapest earlier in the day after a one-day transit stop in Rome, where she met with Vatican Foreign Minister Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran to discuss ways to boost Taiwan-Vatican cooperation in promoting human rights and religious freedom.
While in Rome, she also dined with some 60 Italian parliamentarians and briefed them on Taiwan's progress in democratization and economic development.
The Liberal International is a London-based organization of 80-plus like-minded political groups from more than 60 countries around the world.