OPINIONS Why was Lithuania wrong?

OPINIONS

Why was Lithuania wrong?

China Daily

08:52, January 11, 2022

Photo taken on July 21, 2019 from Xiangshan Mountain shows the Taipei 101 skyscraper in Taipei, Taiwan. [Photo/Xinhua]

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda on Tuesday acknowledged as a mistake the country's decision to allow the opening of a "representative office" in Vilnius under the name of "Taiwanese" instead of "Taipei."

With such a confession, Lithuania is now admitting to its brazen mistake in violating the one-China principle, which it has promised to follow when the two sides forged their diplomatic relationship over 30 years ago in 1991.

Over the past months, in disregard of Beijing's repeated and resolute oppositions, Lithuania has been bent on taking the wrong path. Under the one-China principle, any exchanges with China's Taiwan should be civil and non-official.

Yet Vilnius attempted to whitewash its wrong-headed decision and mislead the international community by saying that setting up such an office "does not mean any conflict or disagreement with the 'One China' policy."

For the record, the one-China principle is one of the universally recognized norms governing international relations as well as the consensus of the international community, and is the political foundation for China to develop bilateral relations with other countries, including Lithuania.

According to the joint communique the two countries signed in 1991 on the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties, Lithuania recognizes "the government of the People's Republic of China as the sole legal government of China and Taiwan as an inalienable part of the Chinese territory."

By allowing the establishment of a "representative office" under the name of "Taiwanese," Vilnius has apparently reneged on its promise. And that is why Beijing's responses, such as downgrading its diplomatic ties with Vilnius, are totally legitimate. It is sending a clear-cut signal: China's determination to defend its core sovereign interests is beyond question, and any attempt to disregard or violate the one-China principle will pay a heavy price.

And for those still conspiring to play the Taiwan card, to unhesitatingly toss out the fantasy that somehow their political manipulation over the Taiwan question will do the trick can spare themselves from severe consequences. Lithuania is living proof.

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