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Recalled Lithuanian ambassador to leave China immediately after finishing quarantine

Country’s representative told she must return to her country after just arriving in Beijing

Air China plane leaving Beijing airport. (Pixabay photo)

Air China plane leaving Beijing airport. (Pixabay photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Lithuania’s Ambassador to China Diana Mickeviciene says she has no choice but to stay in Beijing another three weeks due to a mandatory 21-day quarantine but that she will be leaving immediately afterward.

Mickeviciene, who had just flown back to Beijing, was asked to leave the country on Wednesday (Aug. 11), a day after China demanded that Lithuania recall her as its ambassador, according to CNA.

The recall is part of a diplomatic spat that has been playing out since last month when Taiwan announced it would be setting up a representative office in the Baltic country’s capital under the name "Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania."

In retaliation, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday (Aug. 10) recalled the Chinese ambassador to Lithuania and requested that Lithuania do the same.

Mickeviciene had just returned to Beijing when she got the message that she would have to return to Vilnius as soon as possible.

"I have just arrived in Beijing... to be informed that I am being asked to leave," she told AFP via email Wednesday night, adding that she first has to finish a 21-day quarantine "but will be leaving once it is over and I am able to move."

Lithuania's foreign ministry and the EU have expressed regret over Beijing's decision. This is the first time China has recalled an ambassador from an EU member state over an issue related to a Taiwan representative office.