‘Unconventional measures have started to be taken against Lithuania,’ says Gitanas Nauseda.
ISTANBUL (AA) – Lithuania’s president said it was a “mistake” to allow Taiwan to open a representative office in the capital Vilnius under its own name.
“I think it was not the opening of the Taiwanese office that was a mistake, but the name, which was not coordinated with me,” Gitanas Nauseda told local Ziniu Radijas radio.
“The name of the office became a key factor that now has a very strong impact on our relations with China,” Lithuania’s LRT broadcaster quoted Nauseda as saying on Tuesday. “I believe the name was the spark, and now we have to deal with the consequences.”
“Unconventional measures have started to be taken against Lithuania, and we have to be very active and signal very clearly to the EU that this is an attack, a kind of pressure on one of the EU countries,” he added.
Last November, China downgraded its diplomatic ties with Lithuania after the Baltic state allowed Taiwan to open a representative office there.
Speaking to reporters in Beijing, Wang Wenbin, spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, urged Lithuania to “correct the mistake.”
“Recognizing its mistake is a right step, but more important is to take action to correct the wrong situation of creating ‘one China, one Taiwan’ and return to the one-China principle,” Wang said.
“Chinese government, out of the need to safeguard national sovereignty and basic norms governing international relations, has no choice but to downgrade its diplomatic relations with Lithuania to the charge d’affaires level,” the Foreign Ministry had said earlier.
However, Lithuania’s Foreign Ministry had “reaffirmed” the country’s adherence to “one China” policy, adding that the Baltic country “has the right to expand cooperation with Taiwan and to receive and establish non-diplomatic representations for ensuring the practical development of such ties.”
In August, Beijing asked Lithuania’s ambassador to return home and recalled its ambassador from Vilnius after the European country moved ahead and 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.