Taiwan opens office in Lithuania, brushing aside China opposition
TAIPEI — Taiwan opened a de facto embassy
in Lithuania on Thursday in a diplomatic breakthrough for the
Chinese-claimed island, brushing aside Beijing’s strong
opposition to the move.
China demanded in August that the Baltic state withdraw its
ambassador to Beijing and said it would recall China’s envoy in
Vilnius after Taiwan announced its office in the city would be
called the Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania.
Other Taiwan offices in Europe and the United States use the
name of the city Taipei, avoiding a reference to the island
itself, which China claims as its own territory.
China has stepped up efforts to get other countries to limit
their interactions with Taiwan, or cut them off altogether. Only
15 countries have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
Beijing has also been angered by Lithuania’s decision to
open its own representative office in Taiwan, though no firm
date has been set for that yet.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry said the opening of the office
would “charter a new and promising course” for ties between it
There was huge potential for cooperation in industries
including semi-conductors, lasers and fintech, it said.
“Taiwan will cherish and promote this new friendship based
on our shared values.”
The dispute with Lithuania over Taiwan has also sucked in
the United States, which has offered its support to Vilnius to
withstand Chinese pressure.
Many other countries maintain de facto embassies in Taipei,
including several of Lithuania’s fellow European Union member
states, Britain, Australia and the United States.
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