Lithuania recalls ambassador to China over Taiwan office dispute

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Lithuania has recalled its ambassador to China in a tit-for-tat move with Beijing over self-governing Taiwan.

The EU member state decided in July to allow Taiwan to open an office in Vilnius under its own name.

In response, China recalled its ambassador to Lithuania and told the Baltic nation to “immediately rectify its wrong decision, take concrete measures to undo the damage, and not to move further down the wrong path.”

Lithuania’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday that they had recalled their ambassador following Beijing’s move last month.

“The Lithuanian Ambassador to China, Diana Mickevičienė, is being summoned for consultations as of 4 September, following China’s statement on 10 August,” a statement read.

“The Lithuanian Embassy in China is open as usual,” the ministry added.

Vilnius had expressed regret over China’s action and stressed that while respecting the “one China” principle, it stands ready to develop mutually beneficial ties with Taiwan.

Beijing had mentioned “political consequences” if Lithuania allowed the Taiwan office to open, without giving further details. China says Taiwan is part of its territory and doesn’t have the right to diplomatic recognition.

But the island does maintain informal ties with all major nations through trade offices that act as de facto embassies, including in the United States and Japan.

Chinese pressure has however reduced Taiwan’s formal diplomatic allies to just fifteen.

On Friday, the deputy EU ambassador to China, Tim Harrington, shared a joint photo on Twitter as dozens of EU diplomats gathered to demonstrate solidarity with their Lithuanian counterpart as she left Beijing.

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