China recalls Lithuania ambassador in row over Taiwan office

Aug 9, 2021, 1:45 PM | Updated: Aug 10, 2021, 7:56 pm
FILE - In this July 20, 2021, file image taken from a video footage run by Taiwan's Ministry of For...

FILE - In this July 20, 2021, file image taken from a video footage run by Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs via AP Video, Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, speaks about exchanging representative offices with Lithuania during a press briefing in Taipei, Taiwan. China on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, recalled its ambassador to Lithuania and expelled the Baltic nation’s top representative to Beijing over the country’s decision to allow self-governing Taiwan to open an office in Lithuania under its own name. (Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs AP Video, File)

(Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs AP Video, File)

BEIJING (AP) — China on Tuesday recalled its ambassador to Lithuania and expelled the Baltic nation’s top representative to Beijing over the country’s decision to allow self-governing Taiwan to open an office in Lithuania under its own name.

Beijing claims Taiwan as its territory without the right to diplomatic recognition, although the island maintains 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 reduced Taiwan’s formal diplomatic allies to just 15.

Taiwan, meanwhile, protested Tuesday to the administration of the Venice Film Festival after its entries were credited as coming from “Chinese Taipei,” under what it said was pressure from China. The term is often used in other countries in order not to offend Beijing.

Taiwan and Lithuania agreed last month that the office in the capital Vilnius — set to open this fall — will bear the name Taiwan rather than Chinese Taipei.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry statement called on Lithuania to “immediately rectify its wrong decision, take concrete measures to undo the damage, and not to move further down the wrong path.”

The statement referred to “potential consequences” for Lithuania if it allowed the office to open, but gave no details.

“We also warn the Taiwan authorities that ‘Taiwan independence’ is a dead end and any attempt at separatist activities in the international arena is doomed to fail,” the statement said.

The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry expressed regret over China’s actions, and stressed that while respecting the “one China” principle, it stands ready to develop mutually beneficial ties with Taiwan, just as many other countries in the world do.

Taiwanese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Joanne Ou saluted what she called Lithuania’s “firm will to defend the concept of national dignity and freedom.”

“The two sides will continue to strengthen exchanges in various fields on the basis of universal values such as democracy, freedom and human rights,” Ou said.

In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price condemned what he called China’s “coercion” and said all countries should be free to determine how to handle relations with Taiwan without Beijing’s interference.

“We do stand in solidarity with our NATO ally Lithuania and we condemn the PRC’s recent retaliatory actions, including the recall of Beijing’s ambassador to Vilnius and demanding Lithuania recall its ambassador to Beijing,” Price told reporters. “Each country should be able to determine the contours of its own ‘One-China’ policy without outside coercion.”

Separately, organizers of the Venice Film Festival were urged to to designate the island’s submissions as coming from Taiwan, said Kendra Chen, deputy director of the Foreign Ministry’s Department of European Affairs. They appear as Chinese Taipei on the festival’s website.

Taiwan’s diplomats will maintain contact with organizers and use multiple channels to “continue to fight to ensure our submissions do not come under attack and that our sovereignty is not compromised,” Chen told reporters at a news conference.

Along with intensifying diplomatic pressure, China has stepped up threats to bring Taiwan under its control by dispatching fighter jets and warships around the island.

In February, under pressure from China, Guyana canceled permission for Taiwan to open a trade and investment office in the South American country.

The last time Taiwan established a representative office in Europe was in 2003 in Bratislava, Slovakia. Taiwan currently operates 110 representative offices in 72 countries, according to the Foreign Ministry.


Associated Press writers Liudas Dapkus in Vilnius, Lithuania, and Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 2, 2015 file photo, the first twin-engine 158-seater C919 passenger pla...
Associated Press

Chinese airline receives first domestic long-range jetliner

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese airline on Friday became the first customer to take delivery of a long-range jetliner produced by a state-owned manufacturer set up to try to compete with Boeing and Airbus, state TV reported. The Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China’s C919 is part of the ruling Communist Party effort’s to transform the […]
1 day ago
Smog and fog envelop the skyline in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, Dec. 9, 2022. Schools across Sri La...
Associated Press

Sri Lanka shuts schools as extreme weather brings pollution

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Schools across Sri Lanka were closed on Friday as health and environment officials said the air quality in most parts of the island nation was unhealthy partly due to extreme weather conditions. Polluted air from neighboring India was aggravating the problem, authorities said, as a storm in the Bay of […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Spain hosts EU-Med summit to discuss energy crisis

MADRID (AP) — The leaders of nine Mediterranean and Southern European countries planned to meet Friday in Spain, with the energy crisis triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine likely to top the agenda. The EU-Med9 meeting in the eastern port city of Alicante brings together the leaders of Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Greece, Malta, […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Fire breaks at luxury Istanbul hotel; 3 affected by smoke

ISTANBUL (AP) — A fire broke out Friday at a luxury hotel located on the grounds of a former Ottoman palace in Istanbul, news reports said. The fire broke out on the fourth floor of the five-story Ciragan Palace Kempinski hotel, in a section that was undergoing refurbishment. HaberTurk television said three people involved in […]
1 day ago
Relatives and other protesters from the Roma community chant slogans outside the courthouse in Gree...
Associated Press

Greek police officer in court over shooting of Roma teen

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — A Greek police officer appeared in court in northern Greece Friday over the shooting and serious injury of a Roma teenager during a police chase over an allegedly unpaid gas station bill, with protesters gathering outside the courthouse. Security was tight at the courthouse, with riot police forming a cordon and […]
1 day ago
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., accompanied by Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N...
Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press

Bill protecting same-sex, interracial unions clears Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House gave final approval Thursday to legislation protecting same-sex marriages, a monumental step in a decadeslong battle for nationwide recognition that reflects a stark turnaround in societal attitudes. President Joe Biden has said he will promptly sign the measure, which requires all states to recognize same-sex marriages. It is a relief […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
China recalls Lithuania ambassador in row over Taiwan office