China avisa Lituania acerca de Taiwan
BEIJING’S EUROPE FLARE-UP: In a major diplomatic escalation, China recalled its ambassador to Lithuania on Tuesday, after the Baltic state decided to open a de-facto embassy in Taiwan. “This is the first time for Beijing to make such a move [recalling the ambassador] on any EU country in the last three decades,” a senior EU official said.
Warning for Vilnius: “Recently, the Lithuanian government, in disregard of China’s repeated representations and articulation of potential consequences, has announced its decision to allow the Taiwan authorities to open a ‘representative office’ under the name of ‘Taiwan,’” a Chinese foreign ministry statement said. “We urge the Lithuanian side to immediately rectify its wrong decision.” Translation: Beijing is warning other EU countries against deepening ties with the self-ruling democratic island that it considers a breakaway province.
Lithuanian liberal liturgy: Beijing is particularly anxious about Lithuania’s recent stance toward China: Vilnius earlier this year quit Beijing’s “17+1” platform for Central and Eastern European nations, instead calling for an EU-wide 27+1 leaders’ meeting with President Xi Jinping.
Disappointed, but undeterred: Lithuania said China’s decision was “disappointing,” with Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis telling Reuters: “We are considering our next moves.” He added: “Obviously we got the message but we stated our own message as well, that Lithuania will continue with its policy because it is not only Lithuania’s policy we are pursuing, it is also the policy of many European countries.”
EU expresses regret: Noting this is the first time Beijing reacted this way to member countries’ offices in Taiwan, EU foreign affairs spokeswoman Nabila Massrali told our colleague Stuart Lau: “We regret the Chinese action, and are following developments closely … We do not regard the opening of a representative office in or from Taiwan (as opposed to an embassy or consulate) as a breach of the EU’s One China policy.” She also warned about the impact on overall EU-China relations.
US to the defense: “We stand with our ally Lithuania and condemn the People’s Republic of China’s recent retaliatory actions,” said U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price. “The U.S. supports our European partners as they develop ties with Taiwan.”