fredag 19. november 2021

China condemns opening of Taiwan office in Lithuania as ‘egregious act’

Taiwan has opened a de facto embassy in Lithuania in a diplomatic breakthrough for the island, brushing aside Beijing’s strong opposition to the move which again expressed its anger and warned of consequences. Taipei announced on Thursday it had formally opened an office in Lithuania using the name Taiwan, a significant diplomatic departure that defied a pressure campaign by Beijing.

Lithuania revealed in July it had agreed to let self-ruled Taiwan open a representative office using its name, the island’s first new diplomatic outpost in Europe in 18 years. That move prompted a fierce rebuke by China, which withdrew its ambassador to Lithuania and demanded Vilnius do the same, which it eventually did. Other Taiwan offices in Europe and the United States use the name of the city Taipei, avoiding a reference to the island itself, which China claims as its own territory.

China has stepped up efforts to get other countries to limit their interactions with Taiwan, or cut them off. Only 15 countries have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan. China condemned the opening as an “extremely egregious act,” saying any move seeking Taiwanese independence was “doomed to fail”. “We demand that the Lithuanian side immediately correct its wrong decision,” the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement.