Taipei / Vilnius — Taiwanese leaders will join a group of Lithuanian parliamentarians next week as Beijing and Vilnius argue over the Baltic decision to allow a de facto embassy on the autonomous island. welcome.
Beijing downgraded diplomatic relations with Lithuania on Sunday, showing anger at the de facto embassy relocation. The Chinese Communist Party government claims that Taiwan is a de facto independent country, and despite having its own military, democratically elected government, and constitution, the island is unique.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Wednesday that Matas Maldeikis, leader of the Taiwan Friendship Group of the Lithuanian Parliament, will visit Taipei from December 2-3 to attend a legislative forum with colleagues and lawmakers from Latvia and Estonia. .. In total, 10 representatives from the Baltic States will participate.
The ministry added that the group will meet with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen along with other officials.
Mr Maldakis told Reuters that the six Lithuanian lawmakers traveling to the island represent both the government and the opposition, including those approved by the Chinese government in March.
“I want to signal Taiwan that I have friends in this part of the world,” Maldeikis added, adding that Baltic lawmakers were also invited to meet with Taiwan’s Prime Minister and Speaker of Parliament.
Qu Baihua, Chargé d’Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Vilnius, said the legislator’s trip was “not the right thing to do.”
“By visiting Taiwan, you just send the wrong message to Taiwan,” he told reporters Wednesday. “We oppose it and hope they refrain from doing so.”
Beijing had already expressed anger to the Vilnius government, which has formal diplomatic relations with China instead of Taiwan, after allowing the island to open an office in Lithuania under the name Taiwan this summer.
Other Taiwanese offices in Europe and the United States use the name of Taipei City, avoiding references to the island itself. However, the Lithuanian Taiwan representative office was finally opened last week.
Washington expressed concern about the reaction of the Chinese government and provided Vilnius’ support to withstand Chinese pressure.
Only 15 countries have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
Ben Blanchard and Andrew Citas
The Epoch Times contributed to this report.