General

‘Adhere to one-China principle,’ China tells Lithuania as it opens Taiwan office

A day after Lithuania opened its office in Taiwan, China on Tuesday urged the Baltic nation to adhere to the “one-China principle.”

“We firmly reject any act that violates China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, when asked about the latest development in Taiwan-Lithuania relations.

“China urges Lithuania to strictly abide by the one-China principle, prudently handle Taiwan-related issues, and earnestly safeguard the political foundation of bilateral relations,” said Zhao.

The Baltic nation on Monday formally began operations in Taipei after launching its trade office in Taiwan, the self-ruled nation which China claims as its “breakaway province.”

Taipei, however, has pushed back such claims insisting on its independence since 1949, enjoying full diplomatic relations with at least 14 nations.

“This trade office will bring better cooperation between Lithuania and Taiwan. Lithuania is taking a huge step towards becoming a high-tech powerhouse in the EU, and this partnership will strengthen that,” tweeted Lithuanian Economy and Innovation Minister Ausrine Armonaite, who attended the event at the Taiwanese Representative Office in the capital Vilnius.

China flew 31 of its jets across what Taiwan calls an air defense identification zone on Monday, the highest number since Aug. 05 after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi paid an unannounced trip to the island, home to around 24 million people.

A total of 63 Chinese military planes flew around Taiwan when Lithuania opened its office in Taipei.

A trade office does not have the status of full-fledged diplomatic relations between two sides but looks after bilateral trade.

The Lithuanian office in Taipei will be led by Vilnius' first representative to Taiwan, Paulius Lukauskas.

Eric Huang, who leads Taipei’s representative office in Vilnius, said that Taiwan “will invest more than 10 million euros ($9.98 million) towards chip production in Lithuania.”

Taiwan, the world's biggest supplier of semiconductors, through its Industrial Technology and Research Institute, will cooperate with Lithuania's electronics manufacturer Teltonika “to build semiconductor technology capabilities in the Baltic country” besides training around two dozen Lithuanians on funded scholarships.

“There is only one China in the world. Taiwan is an inalienable part of the People's Republic of China,” Zhao said in Beijing on Tuesday.

“China firmly rejects any form of official interaction with Taiwan by any country having diplomatic ties with China. We firmly reject any act that contravenes the universal consensus of the international community and basic norms of international relations,” he added.

In August, China sanctioned Agne Vaiciukeviciute, Lithuania’s deputy minister for transport and communications, for her trip to Taiwan which Beijing said “trampled on the one-China principle, seriously interferes in China’s internal affairs, and undermines China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Lithuania protested Beijing’s move which also included the suspension of cooperation in the field of transport.

While touring Taiwan, Vaiciukeviciute held 14 meetings in five days, focusing on ways to bolster cooperation with Taiwanese "maritime, shipping, and aviation companies."

Last year, China downgraded its diplomatic relations with Lithuania after Vilnius allowed Taiwan to open a mission in the country, a de facto embassy, angering Beijing.

China recalled its ambassador from Lithuania and asked the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry to change its own diplomatic mission to the charge d’affaires level.

Source: Anadolu Agency