Lithuania calls on China to lift sanctions on officials over Taiwan visit

Vilnius—The Lithuanian foreign ministry said Thursday it had formally lodged a formal protest with the Chinese government over sanctions against the deputy transport ministers of the Baltic states, asking them to lift the restrictions.

China’s foreign ministry said on Thursday it had imposed sanctions on Lithuanian Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications Agne Vaisiukebisiute for visiting Taiwan.

Lithuania’s foreign ministry demanded that the Chinese government reverse the move and resume cooperation with Lithuania in the transport sector, which was canceled after the visit.

“China’s unilateral decision is unjust and violates international law and Lithuanian sovereignty,” it said in a statement.

The Chinese Communist Party claims autonomous Taiwan as its own territory and opposes foreign politicians visiting the island. Taiwan rejects the Chinese government’s claims.

Beijing has downgraded diplomatic ties with Lithuania and pressured multinationals to cut ties with the Baltic state of 2.8 million people. After Taiwan allowed to open a de facto embassy in Vilnius.

The EU launched a WTO complaint in January accusing the Chinese regime of discriminatory trade practices against Lithuania, which it says threatens the integrity of the single market.

The US, UK, Australia and Taiwan support the challenge.