Fri, 19 Aug 2022

Beijing [China], January 7 (ANI): Lithuania has reportedly blocked a railway contract with a China-owned company, amid the growing tension between Vilnius and Beijing over the opening of Taiwan's mission in the Baltic nation.

"Lithuania reportedly blocked a railway contract with a Chinese firm. The nation has accused China of economic coercion," Global Times said in a Tweet.

The tensions have erupted between China and the Baltic nation when in November Lithuania angered China by allowing Taiwan to open a representative office in Vilnius, equivalent to an embassy. It escalated in recent times after Lithuania took steps to strengthen ties with Taiwan. China considers Taiwan as its integral part.

According to a report, Lithuania needs the support of the West and other foreign powers to counter Chinese aggression as it seems to be struggling almost alone against one of the world's economic and political superpowers.

According to the Hong Kong Post, Lithuania finds itself at the forefront of countries that identify China as the greatest threat as it dared to openly oppose Chinese President Xi Jinping's autocracy and Beijing's aggressive behaviour.

The representative office opened with the name "Taiwan Representative Office in Lithuania", thereby implicitly implying recognition of a legal entity separate from the mainland.

Beijing attacked Lithuania by lowering its diplomatic relations with them.

In addition, this month Beijing also demanded that Lithuanian officials surrender their identity documents in order to downgrade their diplomatic status. The demand was such a serious concern for Lithuania that Vilnius withdrew its remaining diplomats from China in mid-December, fearing for their safety.

Further, China has suspended the movement of freight trains connecting Vilnius as part of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). It stopped processing Lithuanian food export license applications, according to Hong Kong Post. (ANI)

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