Taiwan and Estonia Forge Stronger Ties through Defense, Digital Development


On March 6th, the Taiwan People's Party (TPP) Chairman, Ko Wen-je, along with newly appointed legislator Lin Yi-chun and TPP Chairman’s Office Commissioner for External Affairs, Tom Chou, met with the Estonia-Taiwan Support Group of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia), led by Chairman Kristo Enn Vaga, and five other cross-party members of the Estonian parliament. The meeting was centered around discussions on national defense and digital development.
During his opening remarks, Ko pointed out the historical similarities between Estonia and Taiwan, highlighting how both are geopolitically positioned on the frontline against the pressures of major powers. He expressed gratitude for Estonia's continuous support on the international stage, particularly for Taiwan's participation in the World Health Assembly (WHA). Ko reminisced about his visit to Estonia in 2020, praising the country as a leader in digitalization. He expressed curiosity about Estonia's commitment to digital policies despite its small population.



In his response, Vaga explained that Estonia is a country with a vast territory and a sparse population.The cost for the government to provide face-to-face services is too high. For the sake of convenience, the country has decided to accelerate the development of digital policy. 


He also noted Estonia's pioneering stance within the OECD on recognizing internet access as a fundamental human right, a policy vigorously promoted since the country's first prime minister post-Soviet Union era. Vaga highlighted that over 50% of voters in Estonia's parliamentary elections last March utilized i-Voting, and the country's digital ID cards, embedded with chips, facilitate various online transactions, including voting, asset management, and marriage registration.
On national defense, Ko addressed the challenges posed by declining birthrate, Taiwan’s future military sources will rely on the recruitment rather than the conscription system. Moreover, the current conscription system only serves for one year, which is not good enough to train the Air Force and navy. 

Vaga also mentioned that all high school students in Estonia now need to receive military training. And, the cyber defense units within the reserve forces support governmental and private sectors against cyberattacks in peacetime and protect national information infrastructure during conflicts.

As the Russia-Ukraine war enters its third year in stalemate, Estonia, sharing a border with Russia, faces immediate threats. Vaga concluded by calling for democratic allies to stand united in defense of democratic values against the expansionist ambitions of authoritarian states. The meeting ended with both parties exchanging gifts, and Vaga extending an invitation to Ko to visit Estonia again.