Taiwan pledges to invest in Lithuania under Chinese pressure | Economic news
By LIUDAS DAPKUS, Associated Press
VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) – Taiwan sets up investment fund and plans other measures to help Lithuania as it faces major economic pressure from China for allowing the island to open a representative office in the European Union country, Taiwanese officials said on Wednesday.
“The $ 200 million fund will be used for investments in the Lithuanian economy and will help its activities, mainly in semiconductors, laser technology, biotechnology and other key industries,” said Eric Huang, representative from the Taiwanese mission in Lithuania, to journalists in the Baltic nation. capital of Vilnius.
Lithuania broke with diplomatic custom by allowing the Taiwanese office in Vilnius to be named Taiwan instead of Chinese Taipei, a term used by other countries to avoid offending Beijing. China considers Taiwan to be part of its territory without the right to diplomatic recognition.
The office, a de facto embassy, opened in November, and Lithuania plans to open its own trade office in Taiwan later this year. He infuriated China, which withdrew its ambassador in Vilnius and expelled the Lithuanian ambassador to Beijing. Lithuania, a member of the EU and NATO, has closed its embassy in Beijing over the dispute.
Taiwan has said it is ready to help Lithuania resupply trade, with the island saying the goods can no longer enter China.
“There are more than 120 shipping containers – worth at least 1.5 million euros – stranded by Beijing. We are ready to take all of this and help Lithuanian businesses, ”Huang said.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian called “false news” that Beijing has blocked Lithuanian imports or put pressure on multinational companies doing business with the EU country.
“If there is a problem with the export of a product to China, the affected companies can report it to Chinese authorities through normal channels. Individuals in the EU should respect the facts and stop making irresponsible remarks, ”Zhao said late last month.
He added that Lithuania “had seriously damaged the political basis of our diplomatic relations” and that he had “heard that some Chinese companies no longer considered Lithuania to be a trustworthy partner”.
Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said on Tuesday that the use of Taiwan’s name for the mission was a mistake and regretted that the step was not coordinated with him. However, he did not say that he disapproved of the effective opening of the Taiwanese mission in Lithuania.
Taiwanese Deputy Foreign Minister Harry Tseng defended the decision of Lithuanian politicians.
“There is a meaning in the name. Taipei is just a city, a capital. Taiwan has a clearer definition. There is no violation of the laws calling our country to Taiwan, ”he said.
Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte discussed the tense situation on Tuesday with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who later in a tweet pledged EU support for the Baltic country of 2.8 million euros in “current trade irritants with China”.
Associated Press writer Jari Tanner in Helsinki, Finland contributed.
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