VILNIUS, LITHUANIA (AP) — Lithuania recalled its ambassador to China on Friday, following the Baltic state’s July decision to allow self-governing Taiwan to open an office in its capital under its own name.
According to the Foreign Ministry, Ambassador Diana Mickeviciene was summoned from Beijing for consultations “following the Chinese government statement on August 10.”
China recalled its ambassador to Lithuania last month, telling the Baltic country to “immediately rectify its wrong decision, take concrete measures to undo the damage, and avoid going further down the wrong path.”
The statement alluded to “potential consequences” for Lithuania if the office was allowed to open, but provided no further details.
The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry expressed regret over the Chinese regime’s actions and emphasized that, while adhering to the “one China” principle, it is ready to develop mutually beneficial ties with Taiwan, as are many other countries around the world.
The Chinese communist regime claims Taiwan is part of its territory and lacks the right to diplomatic recognition, despite the fact that the island maintains informal ties with all major nations via trade offices that serve as de facto embassies, including in the United States and Japan. The Chinese regime’s pressure has reduced Taiwan’s formal diplomatic allies to only 15.
Taiwan and Lithuania agreed in July that the office in Vilnius, which is set to open this fall, would be called Taiwan rather than Chinese Taipei, a term commonly used in other countries to avoid offending Beijing.
The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday that diplomats from the European Union, of which Lithuania is a member, expressed solidarity with Mickeviciene. According to the ministry, the deputy EU ambassador to China, Tim Harrington, shared a joint photo on Twitter on Friday as dozens of EU diplomats gathered to show solidarity with their Lithuanian counterpart as she left Beijing and wished she could return soon.