China has warned Lithuania to avoid disrupting its relations with Beijing through “irreversible wrong decisions” by the Baltic country and the Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) to open reciprocal representative offices.
On Saturday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry strongly urged Vilnius to respect Chinese sovereignty over the Chinese Taipei, urging the Baltic country to “abide by the One China principle,” according to which countries recognize Chinese sovereignty over the self-ruled island and avoid having diplomatic relations with it.
In a press release, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Wang Wenbin said Beijing “resolutely opposes” official contacts between countries that have diplomatic relations with China and authorities in the Chinese Taipei. “We urge the Lithuanian government to abide by the solemn political commitments made when establishing diplomatic relations with China and not to make irreversible wrong decisions.”
Back in August, China called on Lithuania to withdraw its ambassador from Beijing and said it would recall its own envoy to the Lithuanian capital in protest at the Baltic state’s decision to allow the Chinese Taipei to open a de facto embassy in Vilnius.
Taipei had earlier announced that its office in Vilnius would be called the Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania, an announcement that infuriated Beijing. Other offices of the Chinese Taipei in Europe and the United States, however, use the name of the city, Taipei, avoiding a reference to the island itself.
“The European side should adopt a correct position and prevent interference with the healthy development of China-EU relations,” Wang further stressed. He added that the ‘One China’ principle is a universal consensus of the international community and the political foundation for the development of relations between China and all countries having diplomatic ties with it, China’s Xinhua official news agency reported.
Wang added that China firmly opposes the plots of authorities of the Chinese Taipei to create “two Chinas” and “one China, one Taiwan” in the world.
China has sovereignty over the Chinese Taipei, and under the ‘One China’ policy, almost all world countries recognize that sovereignty, meaning that they should not have direct diplomatic contact with the self-proclaimed government in Taipei.
Beijing also opposes other countries pursuing ties with the island and has consistently warned Washington and other countries against engaging with Taipei.
The Chinese Taipei’s secessionist President Tsai Ing-wen has independence aspirations and views the island as a sovereign state, rejecting the ‘One China’ principle. The US, though apparently abiding by the principle, has long courted Taipei and sells weapons to the self-governed island in violation of its own official policy and in an attempt to unnerve Beijing.