The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Sunday that the level of diplomatic relations with Lithuania has been lowered. This is a retaliation for the opening of the Taiwan Representative Office in Vilnius, which is in fact the Taiwanese embassy. Beijing vehemently protested against this.
Despite protests from Beijing, the Lithuanian government allowed the Taiwanese authorities to open an office in Vilnius with the word “Taiwan” in its name, which creates a “false impression” that there is “one China and one Taiwan” in the world, violates Lithuania’s political obligations towards the PRC, seriously China’s sovereignty and interferes in their internal affairs – it was written in a communiqué by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Lowering diplomatic relations
“The Chinese side expresses indignation and protest against this move and decided to lower diplomatic relations with Lithuania to the level of charge d’affaires,” Chinese diplomacy said. “The Lithuanian government must bear all the consequences of this. We urge the Lithuanian side to immediately rectify its mistake and not to disregard the strong conviction, will and ability of the Chinese to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” it was written.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs also warned the Taiwanese authorities again that “attempts to seek support from abroad for the purpose of political manipulation will be a dead end”.
Taiwan Representative Office in Lithuania
The representative office, which will de facto play the role of the Taiwanese embassy in Lithuania, was officially launched on November 18. The Taiwanese government has announced that it has the word “Taiwan” in its name, unlike most other establishments in the world that use the name of Taiwan’s capital, Taipei. This particularly angered the Chinese authorities.
In connection with the announcement that the office would be established, in August the Chinese authorities demanded that Lithuanian diplomacy dismiss the ambassador to Beijing. They also informed then that they were withdrawing their ambassador from Vilnius.
The communist authorities in Beijing recognize democratically ruled Taiwan as part of their territory and seek to take control of it. In recent years, activities aimed at the diplomatic isolation of the island and intensified military activities in its vicinity have been intensified, which the Taipei government considers to be an attempt to intimidate.
Only 15 countries have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but many others have de facto embassies, which are often referred to as trade offices, as is the case with the European Union. Beijing is demanding that capitals with which it has official diplomatic relations not keep them from Taipei under the “One China” principle.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / STRINGER