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US senator praises Lithuania's relations with Taiwan

Ted Cruz pledges American support for Lithuania as it faces Chinese pressure over Taiwan ties

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — U.S. Senator Ted Cruz on Monday (Aug. 23) penned a letter to Lithuania’s envoy to the U.S. Audra Plepyte, praising her country’s government for expanding ties with Taiwan by mutually establishing representative offices.

Cruz described Taiwan as “a beacon of democracy, freedom, and economic prosperity,” which he said are values that go against everything China stands for. He added that Beijing seeks to de-legitimize Taipei's sovereignty by “eroding Taiwan's diplomatic and national security.”

Cruz said that Beijing has used many strategies to do so, including bribery and blackmail. Though China has created enemies this way, its efforts to politically isolate Taiwan have largely been successful, he said.

However, Lithuania deepening economic relations with Taiwan will benefit both countries and be in line with the U.S.’ commitment to stand against authoritarianism, which the Baltic nation is very familiar with, the senator said.

Cruz said that Lithuania will continue to face “sustained, furious, and serious retaliation” from Beijing over its support for Taiwan. Nevertheless, he assured Plepyte that Washington will help the Baltic nation to counter Chinese pressure as it expands relations with Taiwan.

On Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis to reaffirm the strength of bilateral relations and discuss Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s violent, repressive rule. Blinken also stressed Washington’s “ironclad solidarity” with Lithuania as the latter faces “coercive behavior” from China, according to U.S. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price.