China has decided to downgrade its diplomatic relations with Lithuania to the level of chargé d’affaires on Sunday as a solemn protest against the Baltic state’s collusion with the secessionist authorities on the island of Taiwan,
“In the light of the destruction of the political foundation to establish diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level, China has to make the decision to safeguard its sovereignty and basic norms of international relations. Lithuania must bear all the consequences arising therefrom,” Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement released on Sunday.
“We urge Lithuania to immediately correct its mistakes and not to underestimate the strong resolve, firm will and strong ability of the Chinese people to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the ministry said.
It came after the island of Taiwan opened its representative office in Lithuania on Thursday, which has sparked strong opposition and protest from the Chinese government. According to the Global Times, experts warned that the most severe consequence the Baltic state will face could be severed diplomatic ties by China, and that more countermeasures such as sanctions and restrictions of business ties could be imposed on political figures from Lithuania.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry stressed that the one-China principle is the international community’s consensus and serves as the political foundation for the development of bilateral relations between China and Lithuania.
The ministry also stressed that Taiwan has never been a country, and the mainland and the island belong to one China.