Taiwan announced on Tuesday that it will exchange representative offices with Lithuania, further expanding unofficial relations between the two countries. The office will bear the name of Taiwan, which marks a significant departure from the “Chinese Taipei” title used in other countries to avoid provoking Beijing.
“The governments of Taiwan and Lithuania have mutually agreed after intensive negotiations that Taiwan will soon establish a representative office in the Lithuanian capital city of Vilnyus,” said Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu. “The name of the representative office will be ‘The Taiwanese representative office in Lithuania.’ The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is aggressively working on the preparations.”
We're proud to announce the planned establishment of The Taiwanese Representative Office in #Lithuania🇱🇹. The facility represents real progress in the bilateral relationship & success of efforts to deepen & expand #Taiwan's🇹🇼 ties with countries in the #EU🇪🇺 & throughout #Europe. pic.twitter.com/Jg0u1qqNEi
— 外交部 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ROC (Taiwan) 🇹🇼 (@MOFA_Taiwan) July 20, 2021
While Taiwan is recognized as a country by only 15 other nations, the self-ruled democracy holds informal diplomatic relations with many major countries through the utilization of “de facto” embassies. In addition to the new facility in Lithuania, the Baltic state likewise announced it will be opening a trade office in Taipei this fall.
“Lithuania is interested in expanding its cooperation with Taiwan in various fields, laying particular emphasis on the development of economic relations and cultural exchanges,” the Lithuanian foreign ministry said in a statement.
“The Taiwanese representative office in Vilnius will undoubtedly contribute to the promotion of closer people-to-people contacts between Lithuanians and Taiwanese, and better mutual understanding.”
In response to the announcement, China’s Taiwan Affairs spokeswoman Zhu Fenglian issued a warning to Lithuania, urging the Baltic state “to adhere to the one-China principle and not send the wrong signals to forces behind Taiwan independence.” Zu did not indicate whether Beijing would retaliate at this time.
The “one-China principle” refers to Beijing’s belief that all diplomatic relations should operate under the pretense that Taiwan is a province of China. Taiwan has alternatively rejected the “one-China” policy and views itself as a de facto sovereign state.