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China downgrades diplomatic ties with Lithuania to below ambassadorial level following dispute with Taiwan

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The Foreign Ministry accused Lithuania of “undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China”. He called on the Lithuanian government to “correct mistakes immediately”

China downgrades diplomatic ties with Lithuania to below ambassadorial level following dispute with Taiwan

Photo by the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Twitter

China had previously expelled the Lithuanian ambassador, reflecting its intense sensitivity to the status of Taiwan, which Beijing says does not have the right to conduct foreign affairs. China has also withdrawn its own ambassador from Lithuania.

The Foreign Ministry said relations would be downgraded to the level of charge d’affaires, a No.2 official at the embassy.

Lithuania’s move reflects growing governments’ interest in expanding ties with Taiwan, a major trader and hub of high-tech industry, at a time when Beijing has angered its neighbors and Western governments with a policy increasingly assertive foreign and military.

Taiwan and the mainland have been governed separately since 1949 following a civil war.

The Foreign Ministry accused Lithuania of undermining China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. He called on the Lithuanian government to immediately correct the mistakes.

Beijing refuses to have official relations with governments that recognize Taiwan as a sovereign country. He persuaded all but 15 countries, mostly small and poor in Africa and Latin America, to move on to recognize the continent.

Many governments, including the United States and Japan, have official diplomatic relations with Beijing while maintaining extensive commercial ties with Taiwan. Many maintain relations with the democratically elected government of the islands through trade offices that serve as informal embassies.

Lithuania broke with diplomatic custom by allowing the Taiwanese office in Vilnius to be named Taiwan instead of Chinese Taipei, a term used by other countries to avoid offending Beijing.

Lithuania earlier announced plans to open its own representative office in Taiwan.

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