US backs Lithuania amid China threat over Taiwan issue

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In July, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu announced that Taiwan would open a representative office in Vilnius…reports Asian Lite News.

The government has backed Lithuania after China threatened the Baltic nation over Vilnius’s decision to establish the Taiwan representative office. “Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R. Sherman spoke with Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis today. Both leaders emphasised the strength and breadth of the US-Lithuanian bilateral relationship, which is grounded in our NATO Alliance; strengthening US-EU cooperation, including on China; and our common commitment to advance peace, prosperity, security, democracy, and human rights in the Transatlantic region and across the globe,” US State Department readout said.

The US is resolute in its solidarity with NATO ally and EU partner Lithuania, including standing with them in the face of “China’s recent coercive behaviour” in response to Lithuania’s decision to develop mutually beneficial ties with Taiwan, the statement said. This comes after China recalled its envoy over Vilnius’ plan to open a Taiwan representative office.

“Despite numerous notes and warnings from the Chinese side, the Lithuanian government recently announced that it would allow the Taiwanese administration to open a ‘representative office’ on behalf of ‘Taiwan’, which became a gross violation of the communique on establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry had said in a statement. While expressing regret at China’s decision to recall its envoy, Lithuania had said it is determined to pursue mutually beneficial ties with Taiwan.

In July, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu announced that Taiwan would open a representative office in Vilnius. Lithuania does not yet have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but it maintains increasingly friendly relations with Taipei. Vilnius has been an increasingly vocal critic of China’s actions towards Taiwan, as well as in Xinjiang and Hong Kong. Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan located off the south-eastern coast of mainland China, despite the fact that the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades.

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