China decides to downgrade diplomatic relations with Lithuania

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China decides to downgrade diplomatic relations with Lithuania(图1)
Photo taken on July 21, 2019 from Xiangshan Mountain shows the Taipei 101 skyscraper in Taipei,Taiwan.

China announced on Sunday it was downgrading its diplomatic relations with Lithuania from ambassadorial to the level of charge d'affaires and sent "a stern warning" to Taiwan authorities days after a "Taiwanese Representative Office" was opened in the Baltic country.

By ignoring China's repeated warnings and allowing the office to open under the name of Taiwan on Thursday, Lithuania set "an egregious precedent in the world" and undermined the political foundation of its ambassadorial-level diplomatic relationship with China, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"There is only one China in the world and the government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China," the ministry said.

"The one-China principle is the overwhelming consensus of the international community, a widely recognized norm governing international relations and the political foundation for China and Lithuania to develop bilateral ties," it said.

Lithuania has turned away from the political commitment it made in a joint communique issued with China to set up diplomatic relations in 1991, undermined China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and interfered brutally in China's domestic affairs, the ministry said.

The Lithuanian government "must bear all the ensuing consequences" of the downgrading of relations, it said and urged Lithuania to make corrections immediately.

"We also have this stern warning for the Taiwan authorities: Taiwan is never a country," the ministry said.

No matter how they distort the truth or confuse right and wrong, "Taiwan independence" forces will never change the historical fact that the mainland and Taiwan belong to one and the same China, the ministry said, adding that "attempts to seek foreign support for political manipulation will prove a dead end".

The downgrading of ties with Lithuania is the latest diplomatic move China has taken in response to Lithuania's decision to allow the establishment of the office. In August, China announced the recall of its ambassador to Lithuania and demanded that the Lithuanian government recall its ambassador to China.

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