SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 8 December 2021, Wednesday |

Taiwan opens office in Lithuania, brushing aside China opposition

Taiwan established a de facto embassy in Lithuania on Thursday, marking a diplomatic breakthrough for the Chinese-claimed island, despite Beijing’s strong opposition.

In August, China demanded that the Baltic state withdraw its ambassador to Beijing and said it would recall China’s envoy in Vilnius after Taiwan announced the renaming of its office in the city the Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania.

Other Taiwan offices in Europe and the United States refer to the city of Taipei rather than the island itself, which China claims as its own territory.

China has increased its efforts to persuade other countries to limit or eliminate their interactions with Taiwan. Taiwan has formal diplomatic relations with only 15 countries.

Beijing has also been irritated by Lithuania’s decision to open its own representative office in Taiwan, despite the fact that no firm date has been set.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry stated that the establishment of the office would “chart a new and promising course” for Taiwan-Lithuania relations.

It stated that there was enormous potential for collaboration in industries such as semi-conductors, lasers, and fintech.

“Taiwan will treasure and advance this new friendship based on our shared values.”

The dispute with Lithuania over Taiwan has also drawn in the United States, which has offered Vilnius its support in defying Chinese pressure.

Many other countries, including several European Union member states, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States, have de facto embassies in Taipei.