2019.05.02 11:23

China slams Lithuanian MPs for supporting Taiwan

Milena Andrukaitytė 2019.05.02 11:23

Beijing's embassy in Vilnius has denounced a call by more than half of Lithuanian members of parliament, Seimas, for Taiwan to be invited to the World Health Organization’s main annual meeting. The Chinese government sees the move as “a gross interference in China's domestic affairs”.

“The move of the 'pro-Taiwan' members of Seimas poses a gross interference in China's domestic affairs, and a severe violation of the basic norms governing international relations as well as the UN Charter,” the embassy said in a statement.

“The Chinese government appreciate the Lithuanian government's long-term commitment to one-China policy and the Seimas' great contribution in promoting bilateral relations. We believe that the letter of some members of Seimas does not represent the official position of Lithuanian government and the Seimas’ general attitude towards its friendly cooperation with China.”

The embassy said that the move “runs counter to the consistent position of the Lithuanian government and its pledge of no official contact with Taiwan region” and does damage to Lithuania's international reputation.

“We hope that members of Seimas, as representatives of public opinion and participants in global affairs, respect the truth and international norms, show their respect to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China, as China always does to the independence and sovereignty of Lithuania, and play a positive and constructive role in the sound development of China-Lithuania relations,” the statement said.

Eighty members of the 141-seat Lithuanian parliament from across the political spectrum, including Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga, have signed a letter to the WHO director general, calling for Taiwan to be granted access to the annual World Health Assembly (WHA) in May.

Taiwan's status is a sensitive issue for China. Beijing sees Taiwan as part of China and has sought to reduce the island's presence in international organizations.

Like many other countries around the world, Lithuania does not recognize Taiwan's independence and supports the “one China” policy.

In their letter, the Lithuanian MPs underline that Taiwan is located “at a strategic node in the Indo-Pacific” region and is in “need for disease prevention, as people and goods are constantly entering and leaving” the island.

The letter was initiated by MPs Mantas Adomėnas and Gintaras Steponavičius.