TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Following Lithuania’s decision on Wednesday (Dec. 15) to withdraw its remaining diplomats from China, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) lauded the Baltic nation for its support for Taiwan.
Lithuania on Wednesday ordered its charge d’affaires ad interim in China, Audra Ciapiene, to return home for consultations and pulled out its remaining diplomats from the authoritarian country, according to a Lithuanian Foreign Ministry statement. The Financial Times cited three people familiar with the matter as saying that Beijing had ordered the diplomats to turn in their diplomatic IDs, raising concern in Vilnius that they might lose diplomatic immunity.
Last month, China downgraded its relations with Lithuania to charge d'affaires — one rung below ambassadorship.
In a press release, MOFA said Lithuania’s willingness to expand relations with Taiwan has always been firm and unswerving. Taiwan will continue to stand with Lithuania and cooperate with global partners to demonstrate the unity and resilience of democracies, it added.
MOFA also urged the public and Taiwanese businesses to support closer cooperation with Lithuania in areas such as economy and trade, science and technology, culture, and education. This way, the prosperity of the two countries will grow, as well as the well-being of both peoples, per the release.
The Baltic nation is currently in the process of ironing out the “technical aspects” of its diplomatic representation in China, and vice versa, pending China’s decision to renew the accreditation of Lithuanian diplomats. In the meantime, the Lithuanian Embassy in China will operate remotely, according to the statement.
The Lithuanian foreign ministry said it is ready to continue dialogue with China and restore its embassy’s full-scale operations once both sides finalize a mutually beneficial agreement.
The escalating diplomatic row between Lithuania and China began when the former approved the establishment of the Taiwanese Representative Office in July. The office opened last month.