Lithuania withdraws Chinese envoy in row over Taiwan

·1 min read

VILNIUS (Reuters) - Lithuania said on Friday it had recalled its ambassador from Beijing for consultations, in a dispute over Europe's first representative office for Taiwan to use the island's name, which China views as a challenge to its claim on the territory.

Taiwan said in July the mission in Vilnius would be called the Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania. Other Taiwanese missions in Europe and the United States use the name of the city Taipei, avoiding a reference to the island itself.

China on Aug. 10 demanded that Lithuania withdraw its ambassador in Beijing and said it would recall China's envoy to Vilnius after Taiwan announced the new mission.

The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry said its embassy in China was still working normally, despite the recall of the ambassador.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Lithuania's foreign minister on Aug. 21 and agreed on "bilateral coordinated action" to help the country withstand pressure from China, Lithuania said.

China considers democratically governed Taiwan to be its most sensitive territorial issue as part of "one China", and is regularly angered by any moves which might suggest the island is a separate country.

(Reporting by Andrius Sytas in Vilnius; Editing by Peter Graff)

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