In a warning to the rest of Europe, an EU state admits that China’s rage has “painful” consequences.
As a diplomatic row over Taiwan erupts, LITHUANIA is on the verge of colliding with China.
After Beijing severed ties with the country, Lithuania’s foreign minister, Gabrielius Landsbergis, said the EU state is bracing for “painful” consequences.
China’s embassy in Lithuania confirmed this afternoon that consular services would be temporarily suspended.
After allowing Taiwan to open a de facto embassy in Vilnius on Sunday, Lithuania decided to take this step.
Beijing considers the island to be a stray Chinese province, and has urged Lithuania to reverse its decision in accordance with President Xi Jinping’s “one-China” policy.
Officials in Lithuania are concerned about the economic impact of formal ties with China.
Mr Landsbergis acknowledged that there would be a difficult period ahead due to concerns about supply chain disruptions.
“It’s painful for any country when their contracts are cut in the short term,” he said.
“However, it is only temporary because markets adapt.”
According to the top official, the spat may present an opportunity for the country to diversify and reduce its reliance on Beijing.
“So much of what we produce is partially produced with, or within, China,” Mr Landsbergis continued.
“This is why we need to figure out how to build supply chains and make them more resilient so they can withstand coercion, contract termination, and secondary sanctions.”
In August, China’s ambassador to Lithuania was summoned over the embassy plans, causing tensions between the two countries.
Other Taiwan offices in Europe and the United States refer to the city of Taipei rather than the island of Taiwan or China’s wrath.
The Taiwanese Representation Office in Lithuania, on the other hand, does not.
Mr Landsbergis also urged other European countries to participate more actively in the Indo-Pacific region.
“Every country is now involved in the Indo-Pacific,” he said.
“Some of our NATO allies are taking on a lot of responsibility in the region, offering security guarantees to countries, and that means we have to at least be aware of what’s going on, if not play a role.”
On Thursday afternoon, the Chinese embassy in Lithuania issued a brief statement saying that consular services had been suspended for “technical reasons” until further notice.
Matas Maldeikis, the leader of the Lithuanian parliament’s Taiwan Friendship Group, will visit Taipei on December 2 for a legislative forum, according to Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry.