China: Expert issues warning over Taiwan intervention
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The nation’s foreign minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said the EU state is braced for “painful” consequences after Beijing cut ties with the country. China’s embassy in Lithuania confirmed this afternoon it would temporarily suspend consular services.
The move came after Lithuania allowed Taiwan to open a de facto embassy in Vilnius on Sunday.
Beijing regards the island as a wayward Chinese province and has urged Lithuania to reverse the decision in line with President Xi Jinping’s “one-China” policy.
Lithuania has formal ties with China and officials are fearful of the economic impact.
Mr Landsbergis acknowledged there would be a rocky period ahead amid concerns over supply chains being severed.
He said: “In the short term, it is painful for any country when your contracts are cut.
“But it is short term, because markets adapt. Companies adapt.”
The top official noted the spat could provide an opportunity for the country to diversify and reduce its reliance on Beijing.
Mr Landsbergis added: “So much of what we produce is partially produced with, or within, China.
“This is why we need to find ways to create supply chains and how to make them more resilient so they can withstand this coercion, the cutting of contracts, the secondary sanctions.”
Relations between the two nations were strained in August when China recalled its ambassador to Lithuania over the embassy plans.
Other Taiwan offices in Europe and the US use the name of the city Taipei, avoiding reference to the island itself and the wrath of China.
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However, the Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania does not.
Mr Landsbergis also urged other European nations to get more involved in the Indo-Pacific region.
He said: “We have to understand that every country now is involved in the Indo-Pacific.
“Some of our NATO allies are taking big responsibility in the region, offering security guarantees to countries, and that means that we also have to at least have an understanding of what’s going on, or probably play some part in this.”
The Chinese embassy in Lithuania issued a brief statement on Thursday afternoon and said it had suspended consular services until further notice for “technical reasons”.
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry added Matas Maldeikis, leader of the Lithuanian parliament’s Taiwan Friendship Group, would visit Taipei to attend a legislative forum on December 2.
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