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.
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