China lambasted Lithuania, warning that it would “pay the price” for allowing Taiwan to open a de facto embassy in its capital Vilnius.
China has criticized Lithuania after the Baltic country allowed Taiwan to open a representative office – a de facto embassy – in its capital Vilnius.
The People’s Republic of China is furious that the new office is titled “Taiwan” instead of “Taipei”.
Beijing considers Taiwan to be a separatist province, although it has never ruled the island. Taiwan has been ruled separately since Chinese nationalists withdrew to the island at the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949.
Beijing interprets any gesture that gives Taiwan international legitimacy as an insult.
China officially downgraded diplomatic relations with Lithuania on Sunday.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Lithuania must “pay a price” for flouting the “one China” principle.
China is now considering taking punitive measures targeting economic cooperation and trade with Lithuania.
Zhao said China will take all necessary measures to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity and protect its fundamental interests, a Beijing-backed newspaper said. World time reported.
“The Chinese government had to lower diplomatic relations between the two countries … to safeguard its sovereignty and basic standards of international relations,” the ministry said in a statement announcing the demotion to charge d’affaires level.
âThe Lithuanian government has to bear all the consequences that result. “
He added that Lithuania had “renounced the political commitment made during the establishment of diplomatic relations” with China.
In an editorial, the World time said that “punishing” Lithuania was like “crushing a fly”.
âLithuania is just a clown playing bravado and loyalty. China will certainly give it a hard blow, âthe Beijing-backed newspaper wrote.
Taiwan lives under the constant threat of a Chinese invasion.
Defense Minister Peter Dutton said this month that it would be inconceivable for Australia not to join the United States if Washington took steps to defend Taiwan.
Lithuania described as “crazy little country”
Earlier this year, the World time warned that Lithuania “pay the price for his bad deed of breaking international rulesAnd described it as a “crazy little country full of geopolitical fears.”
Lithuania has a population of less than 3 million, while China is the most populous country on the planet with over 1.4 billion people. The area of ââthe Baltic country is about 0.84% ââthe size of Australia
China has become increasingly sensitive to any reference to Taiwan on the international stage.
In April, Communist Party spokesperson People.cn blasted NASA for the “unforgivable” crime of including “Taiwan” in the “Country” option of the “Submit Your Name” application page. on Mars “.
China has also asked fashion giant H&M to change a “problematic” map on its website.
The fashion retailer was asked to study various Chinese laws, “to strengthen its knowledge of the national territory and to actually ensure the standardized use of the Chinese card.”
The Swedish fashion retailer then agreed to change the card.
Australia officially adheres to the one-China policy, which means it does not recognize Taiwan as a country.
It maintains, however, informal contacts with Taiwan to promote economic, commercial and cultural interests, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison caused a stir in May when he said on 3AW that Australia had “always understood” the “One country, two systems” arrangement and “would continue to follow our policies there”.
The opening of the Vilnius office is the latest sign that some Baltic and Central European countries are seeking closer relations with Taiwan, even if it irritates China.
In May, Lithuania announced that it was leaving China’s 17 + 1 cooperation forum with central and eastern European states, calling it a “divisive source,” AFP reports.
Politicians in the Czech Republic have also pushed for closer ties with Taiwan. Only 15 countries officially recognize Taipei to the detriment of Beijing.