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US foreign policy

US stresses support for Lithuania over China pressure

Published: Updated:

US President Joe Biden’s national security adviser spoke to Lithuania’s prime minister on Monday and stressed support for her country in the face of pressure from China over what Taiwan’s representative office is called in Vilnius.

China demanded last month that Lithuania withdraw its ambassador in Beijing and said it would recall China’s envoy to Vilnius after Taiwan announced that its mission in Vilnius would be called the Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania.

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Other Taiwanese missions in Europe and the United States use the name of the city Taipei, avoiding a reference to the island itself, which China claims as its own territory.

A White House statement on Monday said US national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke with Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte “affirming the strength of our bilateral ties.”

It said they discussed efforts to deepen economic, diplomatic, and defense cooperation and Sullivan “reaffirmed strong US support for Lithuania as it faces attempted coercion from the People’s Republic of China.”

Earlier this month, Lithuania, a member of the US-led NATO military alliance, said it had recalled its ambassador from Beijing for consultations, but its embassy in China was still working normally.

Lithuania said last month that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with the Lithuanian foreign minister on Aug. 21 and agreed on “bilateral coordinated action” to help the country withstand pressure from China.

China considers democratically governed Taiwan to be its most sensitive territorial issue as part of “one China,” and is regularly angered by any moves which might suggest the island is a separate country.