US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday saluted Lithuania’s championing of democracy in Taiwan and Belarus.
Lithuania in July agreed to let Taiwan open a representative office using its own name, prompting a pressure campaign by China.
“We stand against economic coercion, including that being exerted by China,” Blinken said as he welcomed Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabrielius Landsbergis in Washington.
“We stand strongly for democracy, including in Belarus, where we’re very much working together,” Blinken said.
Landsbergis told reporters afterward that he and Blinken discussed “economic, financial, political measures” that can be taken to withstand Chinese pressure.
“We discussed various possible measures [to respond to China] that would help not only Lithuania, but also other countries in the future that would face similar pressure from authoritarian regimes,” he said.
Beijing halted freight trains to Lithuania and stopped issuing food export permits over Vilnius’ decision on Taiwan.
In Taipei, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a news release yesterday thanked the US for again voicing its strong support for Taiwan and Lithuania to develop ties.
The US’ executive and lawmaking branches have stepped up their support for Vilnius against China’s coercive tactics, the ministry said.
In addition to the US, members of the EU and the European Commission continue to voice their support for Taiwan-Lithuania relations, the ministry said, highlighting a letter by Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa.
In a letter dated Monday to “all the members of the European Council,” Jansa said that Lithuania “is facing unprecedented and regrettable challenges vis-a-vis China,” and stated his plan to exchange views on China during an informal leaders’ dinner scheduled for Oct. 5 in Slovenia.
Slovenia holds the presidency of the EU Council for the second half of this year.
The ministry said it is glad to see a global alliance of democratic countries demonstrate its solidarity by defending a democratic regime’s “free choice” to develop ties with another country.
Despite external coercion by an authoritarian regime, Lithuania remains firm in its decision to deepen ties with Taiwan, to which the ministry pays its “highest respect,” it said.
The government would adopt “a series of active measures” and “exert its best” to help Lithuania cope with compound threats posed by the authoritarian regime, it added.
To promote Lithuania’s consumer goods, agricultural and fisheries products, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council on Wednesday held an online trade meeting for Taiwanese and Lithuanian businesses, attracting more than 60 firms, the ministry said.
With a Taiwanese delegation to visit Lithuania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia next month, Taipei and Vilnius would also explore cooperation opportunities in mutually complementary areas, such as laser technology, semiconductors, finance and biotechnology, it added.
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