China’s punitive campaign against Lithuania is “unjustified” and “disproportionate,” and Vilnius allowing Taiwan to set up a representative office in the country does not breach the EU’s “one China” policy, senior leaders of the bloc wrote in an open letter on Thursday.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel vowed to “push back” against “threats, political pressure and coercive measures” aimed at any of the bloc’s member states.
Beijing had objected to Lithuania allowing the office to use the name “Taiwanese Representative Office,” rather than a name using “Taipei,” as is common for Taiwan’s representative offices abroad.
Beijing said that the name implied that Taiwan is a sovereign nation.
After Vilnius declined to request a name change, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in August requested that Lithuania withdraw its ambassador from Beijing and recalled its own envoy from Vilnius.
Von der Leyen and Michel said that the naming of the representative office does not constitute a breach of the EU’s “one China” policy, and that the EU and its members have the right to deepen their ties and cooperation with Taiwan.
The two EU leaders added that they were in contact with Chinese officials to de-escalate tensions over the issue.
Von der Leyen and Michel’s letter came in response to a letter from the Formosa Club, a group of cross-party EU and Canadian legislators seeking to promote closer ties with Taiwan.
The group’s letter, sent two months ago, called for “a far stronger response” from the EU to the Lithuania-China rift.
In Taipei, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday thanked the EU leaders in a statement, saying that the EU and the Formosa Club supporting the development of ties between Taiwan and Lithuania would also contribute to deeper partnerships with other EU nations.
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