China is threatened Lithuania over its strengthening relationship with Taiwan.
The tiny European nation allowed Taiwan to open an office in its capital, Vilnius.
Beijing, which claims Taiwan as its own, reacted furiously and downgraded relations with Lithuania.
China threatened to consign the tiny European state of Lithuania to “the garbage bin of history” after it defied Beijing by allowing Taiwan to open a representative office in the capital of Vilnius.
Lithuania, which has a population of 3 million, broke from its European neighbors by formally recognizing Taiwan, a self-governing island that China claims belongs to it.
In August, Lithuania said it would allow Taiwan to open an office in its own name, prompting fury from Beijing, which recalled its ambassador to Lithuania in response. It also downgraded diplomatic relations with Lithuania.
In recent years, the prospect has loomed large of China invading Taiwan to take it by force, escalating its decades-long economic and diplomatic dispute with the nation.
A report in the Global Times, a Chinese state-run newspaper, said that Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters this week that “Lithuania stands on the opposite side of universal principles, which will never end well.”
Zhao also warned that “those who insist on acting in collusion with Taiwan secessionist forces will eventually be swept into the garbage bin of history.”
Taiwan opened the representation office in Vilnius in November, which Lithuania agreed would bear the name Taiwan rather than Chinese Taipei. Many other countries and international organizations refer to Taiwan by that name to avoid offending Beijing.
China refuses to give diplomatic recognition to countries that characterize Taiwan as independent. Just 15 countries have a formal diplomatic alliance as a result of this pressure from China.
Lithuania may pay a heavy economic price for its decision. The country is bracing for a corporate boycott after China told multinationals to sever ties with Lithuania or risk being shut out of the lucrative Chinese market, Reuters reported in December.
The Global Times report said Lithuania had become increasingly economically dependent on China in recent years. It suggested that trade between the two countries would decrease in future.
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