China lashed out at the U.S. for supporting the European country Lithuania’s feud with Beijing over its relations with Taiwan.
Wang Yi said at a regular press conference: “The U.S. defended Lithuania’s erroneous act of’one China, one Taiwan’ in an attempt to form a small group that would condone Taiwanese independence forces.”
Before his remarks, senior diplomats from the United States and Germany stated on Wednesday that China’s pressure on Lithuania was unfounded.
Lithuania broke its diplomatic practice last year and gave way to the Taiwan office in Vilnius using the Taiwan name instead of Chinese Taipei, which most other countries use to avoid offending Beijing.
China believes that Taiwan is part of its territory and has no right of diplomatic recognition. Lithuania’s actions angered Beijing. China withdrew its ambassador to Vilnius and expelled the Lithuanian ambassador to Beijing. Lithuania has since closed its embassy in Beijing.
Although Taiwan has strong informal relations with the United States, Germany, and most other major countries, China’s constant pressure has reduced the number of Taiwan’s official diplomatic allies to only 14.
Lithuania is a country with a population of 2.8 million, a member of the European Union and NATO, and a close ally of the United States.
Wang also criticized Taiwan’s move to set up a US$200 million investment fund for Lithuania to offset China’s economic retaliation as “dollar diplomacy,” adding that “winning foreign support for Taiwan independence will only lead to a dead end.”
The Taiwan office is the de facto embassy and opened in November, and Lithuania plans to open its own trade office in Taiwan later this year.
Taiwan said it was ready to help Lithuania in the supply trade, and the island said it had blocked the entry of goods into China.
“There are more than 120 shipping containers-worth at least 1.5 million euros-that have been blocked by Beijing. We are ready to accept all of these and help Lithuanian companies,” Huang said.
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Brinken delivered a speech after meeting with German Foreign Minister Annalena Belbok: “We express our direct concern about the Chinese government’s attempt to bully Lithuania.”
Brinken said that China has been urging European and American companies to stop using Lithuanian-made components to manufacture products, otherwise they may lose the opportunity to enter the Chinese market.
Balbok said: “As Europeans, we stand with Lithuania.”
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not directly confirm the trade ban or other forms of retaliation against Lithuania, but stated that Vilnius had crossed the “red line.”
China’s ruling Communist Party has tremendous power to put pressure on Chinese companies that disobey the government’s political and diplomatic agenda.