The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday thanked US Secretary of State Antony Blinken for expressing “ironclad” solidarity with Lithuania and support for it expanding ties with Taiwan in a call with Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabrielius Landsbergis on Saturday.
In the call, Blinken reaffirmed the “strength and breadth” of US ties with its NATO ally and solidarity “in the face of the People’s Republic of China’s coercive behavior,” the US Department of State said in a statement.
The two also discussed US support for the Belarusian democracy movement and condemnation of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s repressive regime, the statement said.
Blinken publicized the conversation on Twitter, saying he spoke with Landsbergis about “our support for Lithuania on its regional challenges, decision to expand ties with Taiwan, and support for the pro-democracy movement in Belarus.”
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday replied to the tweet, expressing the ministry’s gratitude for US and Lithuanian support.
“The #US’s #IndoPacific partner & #NATO ally are forging closer ties for the good of the free world. Your backing toughens our resolve to fight off authoritarianism,” he wrote.
The ministry in a separate statement yesterday thanked the US for demonstrating leadership among global democracies, especially by expressing support for nations facing Chinese pressure.
Since taking office in January, the administration of US President Joe Biden has continually supported Taiwan and its improvement of ties with Lithuania, it said.
Washington has also expressed concern for Lithuania as it faces “unreasonable threats” from China, the ministry added.
“Taiwan is a force for good in the world and will continue to defend democracy, the rule of law and the protection of human rights without retreating under the threat of external pressures,” it said.
The ministry would continue to promote the development of concrete relations with like-minded nations, it added.
Blinken’s statement also signifies a higher level of support from the US government, after US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman expressed a similar sentiment earlier this month, the ministry said.
On Aug. 13, Sherman in a call with Landsbergis reiterated US solidarity with Lithuania, “including standing with them in the face of the People’s Republic of China’s recent coercive behavior in response to Lithuania’s decision to develop mutually beneficial ties with Taiwan,” the department said at the time.
Blinken’s conversation with Landsbergis comes on the heels of a rapid expansion of Taiwan-Lithuania ties over the past few months.
In June, Vilnius announced a donation of 20,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Taiwan, which arrived last month.
The two nations also plan to set up respective representative offices, with Taiwan’s to be its first in Europe bearing the name “Taiwan.”
Beijing in response recalled its ambassador from Vilnius and plans to halt direct cargo train services to Lithuania conducted by state-owned China Railway Container Transport Co (中鐵集裝箱運輸公司) by the end of this month.
INCREASED RISK: The Omicron BA.2.75 subvariant has higher immune evasive capacity, but the CECC is more concerned about newer subvariants such as XBB and BQ.1 With the peak season for infectious respiratory diseases coming to an end, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that details of the next phase of lifting COVID-19 masking rules — removing the mask requirement in most indoor settings — are to be announced this week. Discussions on lifting other COVID-19 restrictions are also being held, including further easing border control measures, home isolation requirements and revising the definition for reporting cases, while also downgrading COVID-19 to a lower category of notifiable communicable disease, said Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Victor Wang (王必勝), who heads the CECC. As the daily
GUT FEELING: In the leaked memo, US Air Force General Mike Minihan urged mobile command personnel to go to a firing range, shoot at a target and ‘aim for the head’ A four-star US Air Force general has warned of a conflict with China as early as 2025 — most likely over Taiwan — and urged his commanders to push their units to achieve maximum operational battle readiness this year. In an internal memorandum that first emerged on social media on Friday, and was later confirmed as genuine by the Pentagon, Air Mobility Command Commander General Mike Minihan said that the main goal should be to deter “and, if required, defeat” China. “I hope I am wrong. My gut tells me we will fight in 2025,” Minihan said. Minihan said that Taiwan’s presidential election
PEACE AND STABILITY: The two nations called for the peaceful resolution of cross-Taiwan Strait issues through dialogue without the threat or use of force or coercion The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday thanked France and Australia for voicing their support for Taiwan, saying that peace across the Taiwan Strait is crucial to the stability and prosperity of international society. France and Australia on Monday pledged to deepen ties with Taiwan and reiterated their support for its participation in international organizations at this year’s Foreign and Defense Ministerial Consultations in Paris. The meeting between French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna, French Minister of the Armed Forces Sebastien Lecornu, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong (黃英賢) and Australian Minister for Defence Richard Marles was the second
DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM: Czech president-elect Petr Pavel said his nation stands firmly on the side of democracy and would boost cooperation with Taipei in all aspects Czech president-elect Petr Pavel spoke by telephone with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday, a highly unusual move given the lack of formal ties and a diplomatic coup for Taipei. Tsai spoke with Pavel for 15 minutes in a harmonious atmosphere, Presidential Office spokeswoman Lin Yu-chan (林聿禪) said, adding that Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) was also present during the conversation. Lin quoted Pavel as telling Tsai that Taiwan is a trustworthy partner, adding that the Czech Republic stands firmly on the side of democracy and supports Taiwan in maintaining a lively democratic system free from authoritarian coercion. The Czech Republic would