Slovenian PM urges member states to back Lithuania in spat with China

Minister Janez Janša called on fellow EU leaders to back Lithuania in its dispute with China when they meet in Slovenia in early October. [EPA-EFE/ Marcin Obara]

Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša called on fellow EU leaders to back Lithuania in its dispute with China when they meet in Slovenia in early October, saying the country faced “unprecedented and regrettable challenges vis-à-vis China.” China has condemned the statement.

Expelling the Lithuanian ambassador and using trade as a weapon in a diplomatic dispute against one member state is “a reprehensible event which will have an impact on overall EU-China relations,” he wrote.

The letter sent to EU leaders on 13 September reads: “We will be able to face China successfully only with a united, coherent and common approach. We must stand by every EU Member State that is facing pressure.”

“While respecting our long-lasting One China policy, Taiwan remains our important partner. This should not be denied.”

“Lithuania, like all EU member states, is a sovereign country and has every right to develop relations with Taiwan. We must show more proactive and assertive solidarity with Lithuania. We must show China that we stand with each other, and that we will not let China threaten any of us,” the letter says.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry pushed back, with ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian urging Slovenia and the EU to “take a correct and objective stance on Taiwan-related issues and not to use the subject to create new troubles for China-EU relations.”

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the letter showed that support for Taiwan and Lithuania from global democratic societies has grown stronger.

(Sebastijan R. Maček | STA)

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