Taipei/Vilnius/Beijing: Taiwan has announced plans to open a new representative office in Lithuania in Eastern Europe. Remarkably, the office will be inaugurated under the name – ‘The Taiwan Representative Office’. The rest of Taiwan’s diplomatic missions in Europe are operational under the name ‘Taipei’. However, the office in Lithuania will be the first to open under Taiwan’s name. The cooperation between Taiwan and Lithuania has unsettled China, and its state-run daily has warned Lithuania of consequences. Nevertheless, the United States has welcomed the move and responded to it, saying Taiwan’s growing involvement on the international stage will always be encouraged.
Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu provided information on the deal made with Lithuania on Tuesday. ‘Lithuania believes in universal values such as democracy, independence and human rights. Lithuania is a like-minded partner nation of Taiwan. Taiwan and Lithuania are both at the strategic forefront of defending independent and democratic institutions,’ Wu said as he announced deepening ties with Lithuania. Besides, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen affirmed it via social media, thanking Lithuania.
The agreement between Taiwan and Lithuania on the diplomatic mission came as a shock to China. China has intensified its stance against Taiwan over the past few years. Also, Chinese President Xi Jinping has warned to unify Taiwan under any circumstances. Chinese military officials have even begun to openly threaten to launch a military attack and seize control of Taiwan. On the other hand, the Chinese Communist regime has already started to sway countries, recognising Taiwan as an independent state.
The developments in Lithuania appear to have dealt a strong blow to such efforts of China. In response, the Chinese government mouthpiece ‘The Global Times’ has issued a warning to Lithuania, saying it would also affect ties with European nations. A few days ago, Lithuania had announced opening a new diplomatic mission in Taiwan. The Lithuanian high delegation had paid a visit to Taiwan. At the same time, Lithuania also decided to step out of the independent group founded by China to establish cooperation with European nations. The country has even decided to provide support to Taiwan on the issues of the coronavirus pandemic.
The deepening of ties with Taiwan, coming from a small nation from Europe, seems to have stung China significantly. Even as the move outraged China, the United States welcomed it. The US diplomatic mission in Taiwan, known as the ‘American Institute of Taiwan’, has released a statement on the subject. ‘All countries should be free to pursue closer ties and greater cooperation with Taiwan, a leading democracy, a major economy, and a force for good in the world. The United States stands by Taiwan firmly,’ The United States said in the statement. Ahead of Lithuania’s decision to establish diplomatic ties, the European nation of Slovakia had supplied 10,000 coronavirus vaccines to Taiwan.