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China recalls its ambassador to Lithuania after Taiwan decision

China recalls its ambassador to Lithuania after Taiwan decision
China’s foreign ministry issued a statement Tuesday condemning Lithuania’s decision to strengthen ties with Taiwan. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 10 (UPI) -- China recalled its top diplomatic envoy to Lithuania and has demanded Vilnius to summon back Lithuania's ambassador from Beijing in response to a Lithuanian decision to deepen ties with Taiwan.

China's foreign ministry said Tuesday that the decision to open a new Taiwanese mission in Lithuania that uses the island's name "brazenly violates the spirit of the communiqué on the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Lithuania."

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The decision also "undermines China's sovereignty and territorial integrity," Beijing said.

China's dispute with Lithuania started in July, when the Lithuanian government agreed to Taiwan's status upgrade. Beijing said last month Lithuania should "adhere to the one-China principle."

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The new Taiwan Representative Office in the Lithuanian capital is the second office in the world that uses the island's name rather than "Taipei." A "Taiwan" mission also operates in Somalia.

In February Taiwan said the South American nation of Guyana had agreed to a Taiwan mission, but the Guyanese government declined to move forward with the change after pressure from China.

"The Chinese Government and people have unswerving determination to achieve reunification of the country," China's foreign ministry said.

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"We urge the Lithuanian side to immediately rectify its wrong decision, take concrete measures to undo the damage, and not to move further down the wrong path."

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Lithuania has deepened ties with Taiwan as concern grows in Europe that China could be committing "genocide" in Xinjiang and using companies like Huawei to enhance global surveillance. Those issues have been raised in the Baltic country's parliament, the Financial Times reported Tuesday.

A Pew survey from 2019 also shows fewer Lithuanians hold favorable views of China. About 45% of survey respondents in the Baltic state said they have positive views of China, down from 52% in 2011, according to the report.

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