Beijing, Jul 20 (EFE).- Taiwan is to open a representative office in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taipei announced Tuesday.
“The development is very significant as it demonstrates Taiwan’s resolve to continue expanding its relations with European countries,” Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said in a virtual press conference Tuesday, according to state news outlet Focus Taiwan.
The move aims “to expand relations with Central and Eastern Europe, especially the Baltic countries, and strengthen cooperation and exchanges in various fields,” a statement from the ministry said.
“In the future, Taiwan and Lithuania will have a lot of mutually beneficial cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, industry and technology,” it added.
It also stressed the European country’s respect for “universal values such as democracy, freedom and human rights” and assured that Taiwan has “similar ideas.”
More than half of Lithuania’s parliamentarians co-signed a letter to the World Health Organization for the past two years in which they asked for Taiwan’s admission to the World Health Assembly, it said, as an example of the friendly relations between the territories.
In addition, Lithuania donated 20,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine to Taiwan in June, it recalled.
It is not known when the new mission is expected to open.
Lithuania has not had diplomatic relations with Taipei, but with Beijing since 1991, shortly after achieving its independence from the Soviet Union.
Taiwan currently maintains diplomatic relations with 15 countries: Guatemala, Honduras, Vatican City, Haiti, Paraguay, Nicaragua, Eswatini, Tuvalu, Nauru, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Belize, Marshall Islands and Palau.
Taiwan has been governed autonomously since 1949, although China claims sovereignty of the island, which it considers a rebel province and has not ruled out the use of force to achieve reunification. EFE