U.S. officials blame China for diplomatic retaliation against Lithuania


On August 10, the U.S. Department of State and some MPs went to Lithuania after throwing diplomatic turmoil over the Baltic decisions to allow China to open an office in Vilnius under its own name in Taiwan. Expressed support.

On Tuesday, China’s Foreign Ministry recalled an ambassador to Lithuania and demanded that it be recalled to China. The ministry said the Baltic states were “boldly infringing” on relations between China and Lithuania, and warned that there would be “potential consequences” if the Taiwan office were actually opened.

“We are in solidarity with NATO’s ally Lithuania and blame China. [People’s Republic of China’s] “Recent retaliation,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a briefing on August 10.

“We help European partners and allies build mutually beneficial relationships with Taiwan and resist China’s coercive actions,” he added.

Mr. Price said that because Jeju is a “world leader in public health, advanced manufacturing and democratic governance,” it would be beneficial for countries to engage with Taiwan.

“Countries should be able to outline their” one-China “policy without external coercion,” Price said.

Many countries, including the United States, have long held a “one-China policy” that claims that there is only one sovereign state named “one-China.” The Chinese administration is demanding that Beijing accept the “one-China principle” of claiming sovereignty over Taiwan.

A de facto independent country with its own military power and constitution, Taiwan has set up a trade office that acts as a de facto embassy in unofficially unrelated countries. For example, the de facto embassy of Taiwan in the United States is called the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States.

Lithuanian Embassy in Beijing
This overview shows the Lithuanian Embassy in Beijing on August 10, 2021. (Jade Gao via Getty Images / AFP)

Neither Washington nor Vilnius have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan. There are currently 15 diplomatic allies on the autonomous island, and the Vatican is the only ally in Europe.

The Taipei Mission (TMIL) of the Republic of Latvia handles issues between Taiwan and the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania).

The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed regret over China’s decision in a statement. However, the ministry added that the country “is determined to pursue mutually beneficial relations with Taiwan, like many other countries in the European Union and other countries in the world.”

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis told Reuters on Tuesday that he was “considering the next move.”

China’s hawkish state media, Global Times, said in an editorial released Tuesday that Beijing’s diplomatic action against Lithuania was a warning to the rest of the world.

“If the Chinese government does not take action, it may leave the world with the false impression that countries that offend China over Taiwan will not be punished.”

Outlet editor-in-chief Hu Xijin accused Lithuania of being a “crazy little country” and a “US running dog” in the article. He said the Baltic states “will eventually pay the price.”

Some US lawmakers used Twitter to express their support for Lithuania.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Vice-Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said, “China’s disciplinary diplomacy is a democratic state in favor of #Taiwan, a glorious example of democracy in the Indo-Pacific. Will not be silenced. “

Rubio added: “A free nation like # Lithuania has the right to engage with fellow democracy. We all have to stand up to the #CCP attack.”

Rep. Carlos Guimenez (Republican) praised Lithuania as “maintaining relations with Taiwan,” despite pressure from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

“Taiwan is a decisive ally in the fight against the evil of communism in Beijing,” he added.

On January 31, 2018, Taiwanese sailors salute the island’s flag on the deck of a rock-class supply vessel after attending an annual training session at the Tsoying Naval Base in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. (Mandy Cheng / AFP via Getty Images)

Lithuania announced in July that it would open a trade office in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, this fall.

In recent months, Lithuania has not been shy about expressing criticism of the Chinese administration. In May, we decided to withdraw from China’s “17 + 1” cooperation platform, which joined in 2012. In the same month, the parliament passed a resolution calling for the treatment of Uighur communist regimes in the western part of China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. “Mass slaughter.”

On Tuesday, the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had cooperated with Canada in “condemning China’s decision to support Robert Schellenberg’s death penalty.”

Schellenberg, a Canadian citizen who has been detained in China since 2014, was withdrawn from the appeal in a Chinese court on August 10. He was sentenced to death in a drug case in 2018.

On August 11, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs used a Twitter account to praise Lithuania’s “courageous action.” [and] Principle stance on Taiwan “.

“As a force for good, we continue to work together to protect freedom and democracy for the benefit of our citizens,” the Taiwanese ministry wrote.

Frank Fang

Frank Fang is a Taiwan-based journalist. He covers news in China and Taiwan. He holds a master’s degree in materials science from Tsinghua University in Taiwan.