Lithuania will ‘pay for what it did’, says China after it forges ties with Taiwan
China on Friday said Lithuania will “pay for what it did”, a day after the tiny Baltic nation of 2.8 million people allowed Taiwan to open a de facto embassy in the capital.
“Lithuania only has itself to blame, it will have to pay for what it did,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Friday.
China’s reaction followed after Lithuania allowed Taipei to open a representative office in the capital, Vilnius, ignoring Beijing’s strong opposition against the move.
China claims Taiwan, a self-ruled democracy, as a breakaway region to be reunified by force if required.
Only 15 countries have direct diplomatic ties with Taiwan, prompting China to say those countries violate the “one China” policy under which only the mainland is recognised formally.
Agency reports from Taipei quoted the Taiwanese foreign ministry as saying that the opening of the office would “charter a new and promising course” for Taiwan-Lithuania ties.
“There was huge potential for cooperation in industries including semiconductors, lasers and fintech,” it said, adding: “Taiwan will cherish and promote this new friendship based on our shared values.”
In August, China demanded that Lithuania recall its envoy in Beijing and announced it was withdrawing its ambassador from the Baltic country following a row over Vilnius’s decision to allow Taiwan to open a diplomatic office in the country.
Taiwan announced the new mission in Lithuania in July with its foreign ministry saying it would be called the Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania.
The opening of the office on Thursday left Beijing fuming.
China’s foreign ministry said the move was a “crude inference” in the country’s internal affairs, in a statement released on Friday morning. “The Lithuanian side is responsible for all consequences arising therefrom. We demand the Lithuanian side immediately correct its mistaken decision,” the statement said.
“The Chinese government expresses strong protest over and firm objection to this extremely egregious act, and will take all necessary measures to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Lithuanian side shall be responsible for all the ensuing consequences,” said the spokesperson.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao later warned Lithuania that it would take “all necessary measures” to safeguard national sovereignty.
In September, Lithuania had angered China when its defence ministry recommended that consumers avoid buying Chinese mobile phones and advised people to throw away the ones they have now after a government report found the devices had built-in censorship capabilities.
Flagship phones sold in Europe by China’s smartphone giant Xiaomi Corp have a built-in ability to detect and censor terms such as “Free Tibet”, “Long live Taiwan independence” or “democracy movement”, Lithuania’s state-run cybersecurity body said on Tuesday, a Reuters report from Vilnius said in September.
China on Monday warned the US should not underestimate its “strong ability” to safeguard the country's territory after President Joe Biden said in Tokyo that Washington could “militarily” defend Taiwan, a self-ruled democracy, which Beijing says is a breakaway region and has not ruled out using force to reunify it. Biden was asked directly if the US would defend Taiwan militarily if China invaded at a press conference in Tokyo earlier in the day.
In a significant development, a Ukrainian court on Monday sentenced a Russian soldier to life imprisonment for killing an unarmed Ukrainian civilian, as the first war crimes trial, stemming from Moscow's February 24 invasion of the east European nation, came to an end.
President Joe Biden faced a dilemma on trade in Asia: He couldn't just rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership that his predecessor had pulled the U.S. out of in 2017. Many related trade deals, regardless of their content, had become politically toxic for U.S. voters, who associated them with job losses. During Biden's visit to Tokyo, the U.S. on Monday announced the countries that are joining the new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.
Day after an audio clip of top Chinese military officials were purportedly heard discussing the Taiwan invasion, US President Joe Biden has warned Beijing against what he calls 'flirting with danger'. Biden, who is currently in Tokyo ahead of Tuesday's Quad summit, said his country would defend Taiwan militarily if China invaded the self-ruling island. A viral audio clip tweeted by Jennifer Heng, China-born human rights activist has created ripples in Beijing.
Drugmaker AstraZeneca said on Monday its COVID-19 vaccine, Vaxzevria, has been approved in the European Union by the bloc's drugs regulator as a third-dose booster in adults following a committee endorsement last week. A committee of the European Medicines Agency had endorsed Vaxzevria as a booster last Thursday, just weeks after the regulator backed the use of Pfizer-BioNTech's Comirnaty as a booster for adults previously inoculated with other vaccines.