China warns Lithuania, European officials over Taiwan row

·1-min read
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin speaks during a news conference in Beijing

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China on Saturday warned Lithuania and European officials not to disrupt ties over decisions by Taiwan and the Baltic country to open reciprocal representative offices.

China demanded in August that Lithuania withdraw its ambassador in Beijing and said it would recall China's envoy to Vilnius after Taiwan announced that its office in Vilnius would be called the Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania.

Other Taiwan offices in Europe and the United States use the name of the city Taipei, avoiding a reference to the island itself, which China claims as its own territory.

Lithuania said earlier this year it planned to open a representative office in Taiwan, a decision that also angered Beijing.

China "resolutely opposes" official contacts between countries that have diplomatic relations with China and authorities in Taiwan, Wang Wenbin, a foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement on its website.

"We urge the Lithuanian government to abide by the solemn political commitments made when establishing diplomatic relations with China and not to make irreversible wrong decisions," Wang said.

"The European side should adopt a correct position and prevent interference with the healthy development of China-EU relations."

China's Xinhua official news agency said Wang's comments followed a joint letter from the presidents of the European Council and the European Commission expressing concern over China's criticisms of the representative offices.

(Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; Editng by Robert Birsel)

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