Beijing warns Taiwan against ‘collusion with external forces’ as delegation from Baltic states visits Taipei.
ISTANBUL (AA) – Any efforts to separate Taiwan from China are “doomed to fail,” Beijing said on Monday as lawmakers from all three Baltic states arrived in Taipei.
The visit is an indicator of warming ties between European Union states and Taiwan, which China views as a “breakaway province.”
It is also the first trip by lawmakers of the Baltic states – Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – and comes on the heels of tours by a European Union delegation and two groups of US lawmakers earlier this month.
“China firmly opposes any form of official and political interaction with Taiwan by any country having diplomatic ties with China. This position is consistent and clear-cut,” said Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry.
“We urge relevant parties to exercise prudence and stop sending wrong signals to the ‘Taiwan independence forces. A stern warning to the Taiwan authorities: Attempts to engage in provocative activities to seek independence in collusion with external forces are ill-conceived and is doomed to fail.”
He said efforts to “create the false impression of ‘two Chinas’ or ‘one China, one Taiwan’ will lead nowhere.”
Tensions across the Taiwan Strait have soared this year as China ramps up military and political measures to counter increased exchanges between Taipei and Washington and its allies.
After Lithuania allowed Taiwan to open a de facto embassy in its capital Vilnius, Beijing recalled its envoy from the Baltic country in August, before downgrading bilateral relations this month.
“China has taken legitimate and strong countermeasures over Lithuania’s erroneous act to create the false impression of ‘one China, one Taiwan.’ China’s sovereignty shall not be infringed upon,” Wang asserted.
“Those who undermine China’s sovereignty will pay the price. No one should harbor any illusion on this. We once again urge the Lithuanian side to correct its mistake with concrete actions and earnestly fulfill its political commitment on Taiwan-related issues.”
Earlier in the day, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said the visit by Baltic lawmakers was a chance to enhance cooperation and ties.
“A warm welcome to the delegation of parliamentarians from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia on your visit to Taiwan. We are grateful for your support and excited to explore opportunities for broader cooperation based on our shared values,” she said on Twitter.
Matas Maldeikis, a member of Lithuania’s parliament, said the delegation was in Taiwan to “show their support country the threats from China.”
“China wants us to be afraid, but Lithuania is not afraid to defend democracy. With our Baltic partners we are here in Taiwan, united against tyranny,” he said on Twitter.
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry also issued a statement thanking the Baltic states for “courageously choosing to Stand With Taiwan.”