Taiwan on Saturday condemned China for sanctioning Lithuania’s Deputy Minister of Transport, Agne Vaiciukeviciute over a Taipei visit, saying such a “bullying action” is groundless.
Vaiciukeviciute arrived in Taipei on August 7 for a five-day visit to promote future cooperation, reports the DPA news agency.
Beijing said on Friday that Vaiciukeviciute had undermined China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Taiwan has had an independent government since 1949, but China considers the self-governing democratic island part of its territory.
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said that Beijing’s announcement on Friday exposes China’s bullying actions which disregard the rules-based international order.
The Ministry said the Chinese government’s retaliation over Vaiciukeviciute was “groundless” and defied normal exchanges conducted by sovereign states.
Lithuania’s Ministry of Transport and Communications expressed its regret late Friday over China’s sanctioning of Vaiciukeviciute “to suspend relations with Lithuania in the field of international road transport”.
On Thursday, before wrapping up her visit, Vaiciukeviciute said her delegation had met representatives from Taiwan’s transportation agencies and leading electric bus manufacturers to pave the way for future collaboration in the field of electric buses and green transportation technologies.
“Lithuania chooses to cooperate with countries willing to cooperate with us,” Vaiciukeviciute told a news conference in Taipei, stressing that the trip was planned for months.
In response to media questions about China’s increasing pressure on Taiwan both militarily and economically after a 19-hour visit to Taipei by Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi on August 3, Vaiciukeviciute stressed her country “supported the G7 statement which was announced last week”.
The G7 statement called on China “not to unilaterally change the status quo by force in the region” while reaffirming a “shared and steadfast commitment to maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait”.
Beijing had also imposed unspecified sanctions on Pelosi “and her immediate family members” over her visit.
Tensions have also arisen between Lithuania and China in recent months.
Beijing downgraded its diplomatic relations with the Baltic EU state after it allowed Taiwan to open a representative office in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius under its own name rather than under a formula demanded by Beijing, such as Chinese Taipei or simply Taipei.