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China denounces new Taiwan office in Lithuania

China denounces new Taiwan office in Lithuania
China's foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Lithuania was not in compliance with Chinese policy on Taiwan after Taiwan disclosed plans to use the island's name at a new office in Vilnius. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

July 20 (UPI) -- China issued a warning after Taiwan disclosed plans to open a new mission in Lithuania that will use the island's name.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Tuesday at a regular press briefing that China opposes any official exchange between Taiwan and countries with diplomatic ties to Beijing.

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"We urge the Lithuanian side to adhere to the one-China principle and honor its commitment made upon the establishment of diplomatic ties," Zhao said.

"Also a word of advice to the Taiwan authorities: 'Taiwan independence' leads to a dead end and any attempt to create 'two Chinas' or 'one China, one Taiwan' will not succeed."

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Lithuania and China established ties in 1991. The new office to be named "Taiwanese Representative Office" is the first of its kind in Europe, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported.

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said Tuesday the new Taiwan Representative Office in Vilnius is the second office in the world that uses the island's name rather than "Taipei." A "Taiwan" mission also operates in Somalia.

Zhu Fenglian, a spokeswoman for China's Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said the ruling Democratic Progressive Party in Taipei was "promoting independence."

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"No matter how much one talks, it does not change the fact that Taiwan is part of China and cannot shake China's international standing," Zhu said.

The United States said Tuesday that Taiwan's new mission signals progress.

"All countries should be free to pursue closer ties and greater cooperation with Taiwan, a leading democracy, a major economy, and a force for good in the world," the American Institute in Taiwan said Tuesday, according to Taiwan News.

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"We stand with friends and allies to advance our shared prosperity, security, and values around the world."

Taiwan and Lithuania have shown solidarity in recent months. Lithuania quit the China-led "17+1" cooperation forum in Central and Eastern Europe earlier this year. Lithuania also agreed to supply Taiwan with 20,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines.

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