Norway’s Liberal Party leader Guri Melby is on an official visit to Taiwan, the first time in 14 years that a politician from the country has made such a trip, local media reported.
“I have a greater concern for the future of Taiwan than how China perceives the visit,” Norwegian newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv quoted Melby as saying.
The paper quoted Melby as saying that by visiting a country that “shares many of our liberal values,” she hoped to gain a deeper understanding of it and “show Taiwan that they are not alone.”
“The trip is an important symbolic act to show them that we support them, and that we want to strengthen the ties between Norway and Taiwan,” she said.
The trip was “absolutely not” intended to provoke China, she added.
Melby believes Norway has a role to play in deterring China from threatening democracy in Taiwan, the newspaper said.
Norway is vulnerable to a war between the US and China over Taiwan due to its dependence on Chinese goods, a report published by the Norwegian Defence Commission in May said.
Areas of particular concern include health, telecommunications, data processing equipment and raw materials, the report said.
“The [Norwegian] government does not take this seriously enough,” Melby said, calling for greater awareness of how the Taiwan Strait situation impacts the globe.
Her party issued a proposal to the Norwegian legislature that the country reduce its economic dependence on China and other authoritarian states, but it only received limited support, Dagens Naeringsliv reported.
During her trip, Melby is to meet President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and representatives from the government, the legislature, civil organizations and business sectors, as well as Norwegian students in Taiwan, the newspaper said.
She is to give a speech at Tamkang University in Taipei tomorrow on authoritarian threats against democracy and the role Taiwan could play in response, the university said.
Earlier this month, Norway’s Ane Breivik, who leads the Venstre party’s youth league, said in a news release that in “the face of an aggressive dictatorship, we must support Taiwan with what we can,” online Norwegian newspaper Nettavisen reported.
Breivik urged Norway to sell weapons to Taiwan, it said.
“Norway should stop waving for the Chinese Communist Party. Taiwan is a separate country, and China threatens their existence,” Nettavisen quoted her as saying.
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