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China suspends beef imports from Lithuania in dispute over Taiwan

By Doug Cunningham
China suspends beef imports from Lithuania in dispute over Taiwan
Lithuania's President Gitanas Nauseda addresses the U.N. General Assembly in September 2021 in New York City. China has retaliated against Lithuania with trade restrictions since a decision to open a "Taiwanese Representative Office" in Lithuania. Pool Photo by Eduardo Munoz/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 10 (UPI) -- China suspended beef imports from Lithuania Wednesday, according to the Chinese General Administration of Customs.

China's action follows a diplomatic dispute with Lithuania over Taiwan. Lithuania decided in November 2021 to allow a "Taiwanese Representative Office."

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China retaliated with trade restrictions, prompting Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda to call the office opening a mistake.

The European Union announced Jan. 27 it was taking China to the World Trade Organization over alleged discriminatory trading practices against Lithuania involving Taiwan.

"China's own customs statistics report a 91% drop in trade from Lithuania to China in December 2021 as compared to December 2020," the EU said in a statement.

Last August, China recalled its top diplomat from Lithuania and demanded Lithuania recall its ambassador to China. China also began to block or restrict imports and exports between Lithuania and China.

The EU says that at the beginning of December "China put in place coercive measures against Lithuanian exports and against exports of EU products containing Lithuanian content."

"China is also cutting its exports to Lithuania. We believe the practices applied in this case are in breach of WTO rules," the EU said.

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"What Lithuania should do is to face up to the objective facts, correct its own mistakes and come back to the right track of adhering to the one-China principle, rather than confusing right and wrong with malicious hype-up, let alone roping other countries in to gang up on China," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said in a press conference Thursday.

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