Angered by stronger Taiwan ties, Beijing pulls envoy from Lithuania
BEIJING: China downgraded its diplomatic relations with Lithuania on Sunday, pulling out its ambassador and lashing out at the Baltic nation for its recent decision to let Taiwan open an office there.
According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, instead of an ambassador, Chinese interests in Lithuania will be represented by a charge d’affaires, a position that is not diplomatically at the same level as an ambassador.
It’s not clear what practical effect this will have on relations, as China’s ambassador had already left Vilnius in August. The opening of the new office had been announced in July.
Taiwan views itself as independent, but China has long considered it a territory and lashes out at any group that questions that viewpoint. Taiwan has recently complained that China has been more aggressive in its relations, routinely sending fighter jets into Taiwan’s territory.
China had on Friday likened Lithuania’s decision to host the office as a “brusque involvement in the internal affairs of China.”
Lithuania’s move to seek closer ties to Taiwan is a setback for China, which has seen more and more countries in Eastern Europe express disappointment with relations with China, amid disappointment with economic cooperation with Beijing and growing criticism about Chinese policies.
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