Taiwan opens office in Lithuania, ignoring Chinese opposition

Taiwan opens office in Lithuania, ignoring Chinese opposition

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan opened a de facto embassy in Lithuania on Thursday, in a diplomatic breach to the Chinese-claimed island, ignoring strong opposition from Beijing, which once again expressed anger and warned of its consequences.

In August, China demanded that the Baltic state withdraw its ambassador in Beijing and said it would recall the Chinese envoy in Vilnius after Taiwan announced that its office in the city would be called Taiwan’s Representative Office in Lithuania.

Other Taiwanese offices in Europe and the United States use the city’s name Taipei, avoiding references to the island itself, which China claims as its territory.

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China has intensified its efforts to get other countries to completely restrict or cut off their interaction with Taiwan. Only 15 countries have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

Beijing was also angry at Lithuania’s decision to open its own representative office in Taiwan, although no exact date has yet been set.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry said the opening of the office “will chart a new and promising course” for its relations with Lithuania.

She said there is huge potential for cooperation in sectors such as semiconductors, lasers and financial technology.

Taiwan will cherish and enhance this new friendship on the basis of our common values. “

China’s foreign ministry said the move was a “crude result” in the country’s internal affairs.

“The Lithuanian side is responsible for all the consequences of this,” she said. “We demand the Lithuanian side to immediately correct its wrong decision,” he added.

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The dispute with Lithuania over Taiwan was also of concern to the United States, which backed Vilnius to resist Chinese pressure.

Many other countries have embassies in Taipei, including several member states of the European Union, Great Britain, Australia, and the United States.

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(Ben Blanchard Report). Additional coverage by Brenda Goh in Shanghai. Editing by Angus Makswan and Michael Perry

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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