Despite pressure and threats from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) the Taiwanese embassy in Lithuania started operating this Thursday, Nov. 18 as announced by Taiwan’s foreign minister via his Twitter account.
Taiwan’s ‘de facto embassy’ is the first in Europe and opens the possibility for other countries that also maintain diplomatic relations with the island to follow suit.
Lithuania faces threats and pressure from CCP
In late July this year, Lithuania announced that it would open a Taiwan representative office under the island’s name at the request of the Taiwanese government.
The announcement aroused the ire of the CCP, which claims sovereignty over Taiwan even though it was never in charge of it. In August, it withdrew its ambassador from Lithuania, demanding that the European country do the same with its diplomat in China.
Using its state-run propaganda media, the Chinese communist regime issued a series of threats toward the Lithuanian government, perhaps with the idea that plans to use Taiwan’s name should be canceled.
“China must take strong countermeasures against Lithuania. If Lithuania persists, China must be prepared for a breakdown in ties. In addition, China should join hands with Russia and Belarus, the two countries that border Lithuania, and punish it. China and Russia are necessary to jointly deal a heavy blow to one or two running dogs of the US to warn other countries,” warned an editorial in the Global Times, a CCP mouthpiece media outlet.
However, the threats were met with a firm response from one of the visible faces of the Taiwan deal, MP Dovilė Šakalienė, who responded to the Chinese regime by saying:
“We are small, but we are tough, and we will make our own decisions on who we partner with. We are not changing our decision, we are still very happy that we are opening the Taiwanese Representative Office in Vilnius and we are hoping to have an even closer relationship in terms of trade, technologies, culture, health and other areas with Taiwan.”
While it is not new for Taiwan to open trade and consular offices in other countries, it was the first time the name ‘Taiwan’ would be used.
Under the “one China” policy, the CCP uses its diplomatic channels, bullying tactics, and even economic retaliation for censoring any attempt for the island to be recognized as a sovereign country.
Growing support for Taiwan amid bellicose attitude of Chinese regime
The opening of a Taiwanese embassy in a member country of the European bloc comes in the context that while the CCP is becoming more aggressive in its intentions to ‘unify’ the island, sending nuclear-capable warplanes to fly close to Taiwan’s airspace, more Western countries have signaled their rejection of the Chinese dictatorship and support for Taiwanese democracy.
From November 4-7 this year, the European Union sent a delegation of seven parliamentarians to Taiwan, in what was the bloc’s first official visit to the island.
The delegation focused on the measures taken by the Taiwanese government in cooperation with civil organizations to combat disinformation campaigns in the media and social networks carried out by the CCP to destabilize the region.
The entourage praised the Taiwanese government for successfully repelling the Chinese regime’s attempts to spread its propaganda without resorting to censorship of its citizens.
“The flourishing of your democracy is formidable and that is why we are so happy to be here. You have shown that in this region democracy can flourish and that authoritarian regimes are not the future,” said delegation chairman Raphael Glucksmann.
In addition, the United States, Australia, and Japan reiterated their support for Taiwan in the face of the growing aggressiveness of the CCP, arguing, among other things, that whatever fate Taiwan suffers at the hands of the Beijing dictatorship will directly affect its future.