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11 Aug, 2022 17:20

China threatens EU nation with response

Beijing promises resolute countermeasures over Lithuanian delegation’s trip to Taiwan
China threatens EU nation with response

China has denounced the visit of a Lithuanian official to Taiwan and vowed a resolute response to the move, which it describes as an affront to the ‘One China’ principle, according to a statement by a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Thursday.

Last week, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Lithuanian Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications Agne Vaiciukeviciute had arrived at the self-governing island along with an 11-person delegation for what is expected to be a five-day visit.

The visit comes shortly after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi traveled to the island on August 2, a move that sparked a fierce reaction from Beijing but was nevertheless celebrated by the government in Vilnius.

“China strongly condemns the Lithuanian anti-China forces for their deliberate violation of China’s sovereignty and gross interference in China’s internal affairs,” foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a daily news briefing.

He also highlighted the fact that Beijing sees the ‘One China’ principle as “one of the basic norms of international relations and the political foundation for China to develop bilateral relations with other countries, including Lithuania.”

Wang insisted that under the conditions of establishing diplomatic relations between China and Lithuania, Vilnius is obligated to recognize Beijing as the sole legal government of China and Taiwan, meaning Vilnius cannot establish official relations or engage in official contacts with Taipei.

The Chinese official said the Lithuanian official’s visit to Taiwan was “a blatant breach of faith,” and vowed that Beijing will issue a stern response to the “vicious provocation.”

“We urge the relevant people on the Lithuanian side not to continue serving as pawns of ‘Taiwan independence’ and anti-China forces, and stop heading further down the wrong path,” Wang warned.

As reported by the state-run Global Times, Beijing’s response will likely have to do with commerce and trade restrictions as diplomatic relations between China and Lithuania are already at a low point.

In 2021, China downgraded its diplomatic ties with Lithuania to the level of charge d’affaires, expressing solemn protest to the Baltic country after Taiwan opened a so-called representative office in Lithuania, which Beijing interpreted as a de facto embassy.