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China downgrades its diplomatic relations with Lithuania due to Taiwan relations

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After the Baltic States improved their economic relations with Taiwan, China lowered its diplomatic relations with Lithuania, which shows that EU member states will face the risk of Beijing’s retaliation if they seek to deepen their relations with Taipei.

China stated that the decision to lower relations with Lithuania from the ambassadorial level to the charge d’affaires level was to protest the country’s decision to open a representative office in Taipei last week. Representative office is not equivalent to formal diplomatic relations, but a sign of deepening relations.

“This act blatantly created the false impression of’one China, one Taiwan’ in the world, abandoned Lithuania’s political commitment in the communiqué on the establishment of diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China, undermined China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs,” China The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Sunday.

Beijing claims that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s sovereign territory and often opposes formal contacts with the democratically elected government of Taipei.

Lithuania expressed regret over Beijing’s decision and reiterated its commitment to the “One China Policy.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country added that the relationship is based on economic interests, stating that it “has the right to expand cooperation with Taiwan and, like many other countries, accept and establish non-diplomatic missions to ensure the actual development of this relationship.” “.

Beijing’s latest response to Lithuania comes at a time of broader trends in the warming of relations between Central and Eastern European countries and Taiwan.

Vilnius believes that although most EU member states and Western governments have similar arrangements with Taiwan, it has been singled out by China.

The establishment of mutual representative offices with Taiwan has caused the recall of the ambassadors of the capitals of the two countries.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated: “We urge Lithuania to immediately correct its mistakes and not to underestimate the Chinese people’s determination, will and ability to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Many security experts and officials regard Taiwan as a dangerous fuse between China and the United States. Since the Democratic Progressive Party led by President Tsai Ing-wen replaced the more Beijing-friendly Kuomintang to power in 2016, Beijing has increased its pressure on Taiwan in the diplomatic, military, and economic fields.

The President of Lithuania, Gitanas Nauseda, told the Financial Times in August that the Baltic states will not give in. He added that while the country is committed to defending democratic values, this practice “should not create additional tensions”.

In recent months, Vilnius has taken an increasingly tough stance against China. The government withdrew from the 17+1 group set up by Beijing to respond to Central and Eastern European countries, condemning China’s treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang, and barring Huawei from accessing its telecommunications infrastructure.

Some governments and legislators are reconsidering their ties with China because they are increasingly afraid of Beijing’s authoritarian tendencies and are disappointed with the economic opportunities of the world’s second largest economy.

Some members of the European Parliament visited Taipei this month to show their support for Taiwan.

In addition, the Australian Defense Minister stated that it is “unbelievable” that Australia does not support the United States in defending Taiwan.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs also issued a “stern warning” to the Taiwanese government regarding Taiwan’s attempts to seek foreign support.

“No matter how the’Taiwan independence’ forces distort the facts and confuse the public, they cannot change the historical fact that the mainland and Taiwan belong to the same China,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Lithuania also faces severe pressure from neighboring Belarus, where the Alexander Lukashenko regime has attracted thousands of migrants to its borders.

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