Lithuania ambassador leaving China
Lithuania ambassador leaving China
Lithuanian Ambassador to China Diana Mickeviciene on Wednesday said she had been asked to leave the country, one day after Beijing demanded that Vilnius recall its envoy over allowing Taiwan to set up an office under its own name in the EU member state.
The spat erupted last month when Taiwan said it was setting up a representative office in Vilnius under the name “Taiwanese” instead of “Taipei” — an act Beijing interpreted as a diplomatic insult.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs demanded that Mickeviciene be recalled, and said it would withdraw Chinese Ambassador to Lithuania Shen Zhifei (申知非).
Mickeviciene had just traveled back to the Chinese capital when she was told she would have to return to Vilnius as soon as possible.
“I have just arrived in Beijing … to be informed that I am being asked to leave,” she said in an e-mail late on Wednesday.
Mickeviciene added that she has to undergo a mandatory 21-day quarantine, “but will be leaving once it is over and I am able to move.”
The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed regret over Beijing’s decision.
“While respecting the principle of one China, [Lithuania] is determined to develop mutually beneficial relations with Taiwan,” it said in a statement.
The EU echoed the “regret” at Beijing’s response, which marked the first time China has recalled an envoy from a member of the bloc over a Taiwanese office.
The Chinese foreign ministry on Wednesday reiterated that the establishment of an office under the name Taiwan “severely harms Chinese sovereignty and territorial integrity, and severely violates the ‘one China’ principle.”
“China has the right and should make a legitimate and reasonable response,” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying (華春瑩) said in a statement.
China tries to keep Taipei isolated on the world stage and rejects any official use of the word “Taiwan” in case it lends it a sense of international legitimacy.
It cut official contact with Taiwan and ramped up diplomatic pressure after the 2016 election of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who rejects Beijing’s stance that Taiwan is part of “one China” and instead views Taiwan as a de facto sovereign state.
Recalled Lithuanian ambassador to leave China immediately after finishing quarantine
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Lithuania’s Ambassador to China Diana Mickeviciene says she has no choice but to stay in Beijing another three weeks due to a mandatory 21-day quarantine but that she will be leaving immediately afterward.
Mickeviciene, who had just flown back to Beijing, was asked to leave the country on Wednesday (Aug. 11), a day after China demanded that Lithuania recall her as its ambassador, according to CNA.
The recall is part of a diplomatic spat that has been playing out since last month when Taiwan announced it would be setting up a representative office in the Baltic country’s capital under the name “Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania.”
In retaliation, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday (Aug. 10) recalled the Chinese ambassador to Lithuania and requested that Lithuania do the same.
Mickeviciene had just returned to Beijing when she got the message that she would have to return to Vilnius as soon as possible.
“I have just arrived in Beijing… to be informed that I am being asked to leave,” she told AFP via email Wednesday night, adding that she first has to finish a 21-day quarantine “but will be leaving once it is over and I am able to move.”
Lithuania’s foreign ministry and the EU have expressed regret over Beijing’s decision. This is the first time China has recalled an ambassador from an EU member state over an issue related to a Taiwan representative office.
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