Beijing downgrades relations with Lithuania after Baltic nation allowed Taiwan to open its mission.
ISTANBUL (AA) – China on Friday asked Lithuania to rename its mission in Beijing in a row over self-ruled Taiwan island.
China on Friday notified the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry that it has changed its diplomatic mission in Lithuania to chargé d’affaires office, said China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, requesting Lithuania to change the name of its diplomatic mission in China too, according to Chinese daily Global Times.
The move comes after the Baltic nation allowed Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its “breakaway province”, to open its mission in the country, a de facto embassy, angering China.
Last Sunday, Beijing had announced to downgrade the bilateral relations with Lithuania, saying the move by the Baltic nation had “damaged the relations.”
In August, Beijing asked Lithuania’s ambassador to return home and recalled its ambassador from Vilnius after the European country decided to exchange diplomatic offices with Taiwan.
Taipei has been insisting on its independence since 1949 with independent diplomatic ties with at least 15 nations.
“China’s move is a legitimate countermeasure against Lithuania for undermining China’s sovereignty, and the responsibility lies entirely with Lithuania. The Chinese people cannot be bullied, and China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity brook no aggression,” Zhao said.