China lowers diplomatic relations with Lithuania over Taiwan

A few days ago, a representative office of Taiwan was opened in Vilnius. In this regard, China protested to Lithuania, pointing out that the Lithuanian side destroyed relations between the countries at the level of ambassadors

Flag of Taiwan

The Chinese authorities have decided to lower the level of diplomatic relations with Lithuania. This is reported by the Central Television of the People's Republic of China.

According to him, Beijing will downgrade diplomatic relations with Lithuania to the level of chargé d'affaires. This decision was made by the Chinese government against the backdrop of the opening of a representative office of Taiwan in Lithuania. In accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the class of chargé d'affaires is the third rank of heads of diplomatic missions after ambassadors and envoys.

The PRC government believes that the opening of a representative office is a violation of the principle of one China and its territorial integrity, as well as interference in its internal affairs. “ China expresses its sharp discontent and strong protest in this regard and has decided to downgrade China-Lithuania diplomatic relations to the level of chargé d'affaires, '' & mdash; The TV channel quotes a statement from an official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China.

The ministry said in a statement that China was forced to lower diplomatic relations with Lithuania, taking into account the fact that the political basis for diplomatic relations between Beijing and Vilnius at the level of ambassadors was destroyed. “ The Lithuanian government must bear the full responsibility arising from this, '' & mdash; emphasized in the Foreign Ministry.


A representative office of Taiwan opened in the Lithuanian capital on November 18. It will not have diplomatic status, but it will be able to provide consular services. Erik Huang, who heads a similar office in Riga, where he is called the representative office of Taipei, has been appointed as its head. Lithuania expects to open its representative office in Taiwan early next year.

China recalled the ambassador from Lithuania in August, and on September 3, official Vilnius announced the recall of the ambassador from Beijing. In addition, China used economic levers: it suspended freight rail transport to Lithuania, and also reduced the credit limit for Lithuanian enterprises.

Taiwan announced its secession from mainland China in 1949 after the defeat of the Kuomintang forces (the ruling party of the Republic of China since 1928 year) during the civil war with the communists. Beijing considers the island to be part of China. From 1949 to 1971, Taiwan remained the only legitimate force in the UN from China, however, in October 1971, the UN General Assembly Resolution No. 2758 was adopted, according to which the representation of China, including the seat of a permanent member of the UN Security Council, was transferred from the Republic of China. (Chinese Taipei) to the People's Republic of China.

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Baltic ‘bubble’ looks to reopen regional travel

Baltic 'bubble' looks to reopen regional travel

The Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are poised to become one of the first blocs to reopen regional travel, thanks to their swift response to the pandemic and measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Indra Ekmanis

Christopher Woolf

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A bicyclist rides next to a billboard, a part of a “Mask Fashion Week” during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Vilnius, Lithuania, May 5, 2020. 


Andrius Sytas/Reuters


The European Union outlined plans on Wednesday for a limited reopening in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The proposals focus on conditions-based relaxation, with the ultimate goal of keeping the tourist industry alive this summer.

These are just suggestions, and countries can decide what to do for themselves. But some regional groups are setting the pace. 

Related: EU calls for European borders to reopen to save tourist season

The Baltic countries — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — have been fairly effective in their approach to the pandemic. On Friday, they are planning to open up regional travel. That means people will be able to move freely among the three countries, but anyone who is arriving from outside the region will still have to go through a two-week quarantine period. 

Located in the northeastern corner of the EU, the Baltic countries have a collective population of just over 6 million and a long history of working together on shared interests.  

Related: 30 years later, the human chain that ‘unshackled’ the Baltic nations still matters

Opening up a “Baltic bubble” move is a notable step toward recovery, their prime ministers say. 

Agreed in a video call with @krisjaniskarins and @Skvernelis_S on opening internal borders between 🇪🇪-🇱🇻 and 🇱🇹-🇱🇻 to the people of Baltic States from 15 May. It’s a big step towards life as normal.

— Jüri Ratas (@ratasjuri) May 6, 2020

On the global scale, the Baltic states have seen comparative success dealing with the pandemic. All were quick to issue emergency measures before anyone within their borders had died of the disease. They have also tested aggressively and allowed experts to lead the way. Latvia and Estonia managed without a hard lockdown, meaning some businesses could still operate if proper precautions were taken. In large part, people have been fairly compliant with restrictive measures, and the governments have received international praise

Related: For these Latvian Americans, summer is for learning about their roots

Around half of the population of Saaremaa, one of Estonia’s islands, was estimated to be infected after a March sporting event with a visiting team from Italy. Overall there have been around 1,700 cases and 60 deaths in the country. In Lithuania, there have been just over 1,505 cases and 54 deaths. And in Latvia, fewer than 1,000 people have contracted COVID-19, while 19 people have died from the disease.

Baltijas valstīs 🇪🇪🇱🇻🇱🇹 turpina samazināties pēdējo 14 dienu saslimstība ar COVID-19
(dati līdz 13.maijam)

— Jānis Hermanis (@J_Hermanis) May 13, 2020

Broadly, the preventative measures taken have successfully slowed new infections to a trickle, which has allowed the countries to move to reopen together. 

The Baltics have approached the crisis with the innovation for which the region has become known. Estonia, which is a pioneer in technology and e-governance, has worked toward finding digital solutions to the crisis. In Vilnius, Lithuania, the city has turned into a giant open-air cafe. Minister of Health Ilze Viņķele, who has been at the forefront of the response in Latvia, even guest DJ-ed an online quarantine disco to lighten the mood. 

Related: Alyona Alyona breathes new life into Ukrainian rap scene

Still, reopening borders doesn’t mean the countries will stop taking precautions. 

“Not only the authorities, but our societies are still cautious,” said Marius Laurinavicus, a senior analyst at the Vilnius Institute of Policy Analysis in Lithuania. “But bearing in mind the situation in our countries is much better than in the other parts of Europe, we are trying to do our best to get our lives back to normal.”