China Demand For Companies To Boycott Lithuania Slammed
China has told multinationals to sever ties with Lithuania or face being shut out of the Chinese market, a senior government official and an industry body told Reuters, dragging companies into a dispute between the Baltic state and Beijing and proving that China resorts to underhanded tactics in pursuing its policy to isolate Taiwan.
Photo Insert: Vilnius is Lithuania's financial district.
China downgraded its diplomatic ties with Lithuania last month, after the opening of a representative office by Taiwan in Vilnius. Lithuania's ruling coalition had agreed in November last year to support what it described as "those fighting for freedom" in Taiwan, putting its relations with China at risk, John O’Donnell and Andrius Syras reported for Reuters.
China views self-ruled and democratically governed Taiwan as its territory despite not having ruled it for one second and has stepped up pressure on countries to downgrade or sever their relations with the island.
China's foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Thursday that China followed international trade rules and again criticized Lithuania for its stance on Taiwan.
"It has created the false impression of Taiwan being separate from China, gravely harmed China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and started an egregious precedent among the international community," he said. "China will firmly safeguard its sovereignty, territorial integrity, and core interests."
Lithuania's direct trade with China is modest, but its export-based economy is home to hundreds of companies that make products such as furniture, lasers, food, and clothing for multinationals that sell to China.
"They (China) have been sending messages to multinationals that if they use parts and supplies from Lithuania, they will no longer be allowed to sell to the Chinese market or get supplies there," Mantas Adomenas, Lithuania's vice-minister for foreign affairs, told Reuters.