(TibetanReview.net, Jul20’21) – China warned Lithuania Jul 20 not to “send the wrong signals to Taiwan independence forces” after the latter said it would open a de facto embassy in the Baltic country, a move strongly backed by the United States, reported Reuters Jul 20.
China considers the democratically-governed Taiwan to be part of “one China” and opposes any country giving it a diplomatic recognition of any kind while reserving the right to “reunite” it by force if necessary.
Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu has said the new mission in Vilnius would be called the Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania, though it was not clear when it would open.
“Taiwan and Lithuania are both at the strategic forefront of defending democratic institutions,” Wu was quoted as saying.
The United States has welcomed the move, with its de facto embassy in Taiwan saying: “All countries should be free to pursue closer ties and greater cooperation with Taiwan, a leading democracy, a major economy, and a force for good in the world.”
The report cited China’s Taiwan Affairs Office as saying it opposed any country having official relations with Taiwan.
“We urge Lithuania to abide by the one-China principle and not to send the wrong signals to Taiwan independence forces,” it was quoted as saying in a statement.
Earlier this year, Lithuania said it planned to open its own representative office in Taiwan, angering China. It announced last month it would donate 20,000 Covi-19 vaccine doses to Taiwan.
While only 15 countries have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan due to coercion from Beijing, many others have de facto embassies which are often termed trade offices, as is the case for the European Union, of which Lithuania is a member state.