China downgrades Lithuanian diplomatic mission to Chargé D'affaires Office, ‘not to compromise’ on malicious provocations
Published: Nov 26, 2021 11:18 PM
The China Post CR Express 1st block train is unloading in Vilnius, Lithuania, April 14, 2020. Photo: Xinhua

The "China Post" CR Express 1st block train is unloading in Vilnius, Lithuania, April 14, 2020. Photo: Xinhua

China has changed its diplomatic mission in Lithuania to the Office of the Chargé d'Affaires and requested Lithuania to also change the name of its diplomatic mission in China, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Friday, a concrete step of China's downgrading of diplomatic ties with Lithuania after the Baltic country kept provocations on the Taiwan question. 

Experts said there could be more serious consequences if Lithuania continues to provoke China and act as an anti-China vanguard for the US. Lithuania's attempts to incite more countries to join its anti-China ranks can only lead to its own isolation, as rational countries are in the majority, and the overall relationship between China and Europe will not be affected by such noise.  

On November 18, Lithuania, in disregard of China's strong protest and repeated representations, allowed Taiwan island to set up a "representative office "in the name of Taiwan rather than Taipei, which apparently went against the one-China principle.

"China's move is a legitimate countermeasure against Lithuania for undermining China's sovereignty, and the responsibility lies with Lithuania… The Chinese people cannot be bullied, and China's national sovereignty and territorial integrity brook no infringement," Zhao said.

During a virtual meeting with Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto on Thursday, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi reiterated China's stance on Lithuanian provocations over the island of Taiwan.

China and Hungary have cooperation traditions and maintain smooth and positive high-level interactions, yielding productive results, observers said.

Lithuania could be isolated due to its unwise provocation against China, as most countries will be reasonable on this matter,Cui Hongjian, director of the Department of European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times on Friday.

Lithuania's move is an isolated case among Central and Eastern Europe Countries (CEEC), but it might strive for sympathy and support from otherregional countries, Cui said.

As Lithuania is trying to influence the Baltic and more European countries, it is important to make clear China's stance and warn politicians of other European countries that intend to follow Lithuania's step for political interests, observers said. 

Lithuania probably will evaluate the benefit and downside during the short term and might seek cooperation with other regions such as the US and the EU, Cui said.  Lithuania will pay a bigger price if the country wants to restore bilateral ties to a normal level in trade and other fields in the future, Cui said, noting that Lithuania should realize that the consequences will be serious.

One day before the Foreign Ministry's announcement, the Chinese Embassy in Lithuania said that consular services were suspended starting Thursday. 

China's decision to change the diplomatic mission shows the country's "firm determination" and the country will not compromise on the matter, Cui noted