China regards self-governing and democratically controlled Taiwan as its own territory with no right to the traps of a state, and has intensified pressure on countries to downgrade or sever their relations with the island, even unofficially.
Beijing has already expressed anger that Lithuania – which has formal relations with China and not Taiwan – had Taiwan open its office in the country, and recalled its ambassador in August.
The Taiwanese representative office in Lithuania opened on Thursday. Other Taiwan offices in Europe and the United States use the name of the city of Taipei, avoiding a reference to the island itself, something that further angered Beijing.
China’s foreign ministry said in a stern statement that Lithuania ignores China’s “solemn attitude” and the basic norms of international relations by allowing Taiwan to set up its representative office in Lithuania.
The move “has undermined China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and has largely interfered with China’s domestic affairs,” setting a “bad precedent internationally,” it said, adding that relations would be downgraded to the level of concern, a point under the ambassador.
“We call on the Lithuanian side to rectify its mistakes immediately and not to underestimate the firm determination and determination of the Chinese people to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
No matter what Taiwan does, it can not change the fact that it is part of China, the ministry added.
Taiwan says it is an independent country called the Republic of China, its official name, and that the People’s Republic of China has never ruled it and has no right to speak for it.
Taiwan has been encouraged by growing international support for it in light of China’s military and diplomatic pressure, especially from the United States and some of its allies.
Washington has offered Vilnius support to withstand Chinese pressure, and Lithuania will sign a $ 600 million export credit agreement with the US Export-Import Bank this week.
Only 15 countries have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
Taipei could lose another ally to Beijing following the Honduran presidential election later this month, where a candidate backed by major opposition parties leads in opinion polls.
If elected, Xiomara Castro promised to establish official relations with China.