Slovenia is unlikely to backtrack from pro-Taiwan policies after Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa leaves office, following his electoral defeat last month, an academic said on Saturday.
Jansa, a populist who presided over warming relations between Taiwan and Slovenia, was ousted in the parliamentary elections last month by political newcomer Rober Golob.
Slovenia is unlikely to make fundamental changes to its Taiwan policy, as improving economic and cultural ties between the countries serves Ljubljana’s interests, Taiwan Study Center in Slovenia director Sasa Istenic Kotar said.
Under Slovenia: Safe, Successful, Globally Respected: The Foreign Policy Strategy of the Republic of Slovenia, published last year, the country is committed to devoting special attention to the Indo-Pacific region and deepening its cooperation with democratic countries in the region, Kotar said.
The national diplomatic and strategic policy of Slovenia is anchored to the EU’s strategy, which treats China as a systematic rival and a competitor, she said.
“I believe that the new government will follow the EU’s strategy, and that no major changes will happen,” she said, adding that the country might “keep a low profile so as to avoid angering China.”
Slovenia’s adherence to a “one China” policy and efforts to improve ties with Beijing would also continue, she said.
Kotar recently told the Global Taiwan Institute that Slovenia’s bid to obtain a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council — for which it would need Beijing’s support — does not necessarily sink Taipei’s hope of establishing a representative office in Ljubljana.
Taiwan has representative offices in all but six of the 27 countries that make up the EU — Slovenia, Malta, Cypress, Luxembourg, Estonia and Croatia.
As the Slovenian parliament voted for Taiwan’s diplomatic presence to be called the Taipei trade office, it does not anticipate heavy opposition from Beijing, she said.
In addition, Slovenia’s interest in China has cooled after Beijing’s “16+1” bloc failed to deliver on infrastructure and trade promises, she said, adding that Slovenia’s trade deficits with China have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government considers Taiwan-Slovenia economic cooperation to have great potential, especially in renewable energy, artificial intelligence, technology, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, she said.
“Slovenia’s trade with Taiwan lagged behind that of other central and eastern European countries, and the absence of trade offices is the most glaring obstacle in growing that relationship,” she said.
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