United States and Taiwan have vowed to help Lithuania in its ongoing diplomatic and economic tiff with China over the issue of the de facto Taiwanese embassy. Taiwan said it would set up a 200 million USD fund to invest in Lithuania. It said this is to help Lithuania with their difficulties owing to the Chinese diplomatic and trade pressure. 

China downgraded its diplomatic relations with Lithuania after Lithuania allowed Taiwan to open a de facto embassy there, a potential sign of growing ties. Taiwan State-run media said Taiwan purchased 20,000 bottles of Lithuanian rum bound for China after learning that it could be blocked from entering China. According to Media reports, Lithuania has blocked a railway contract with a China-owned firm due to citing national security concerns.

Yesterday, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said ‘Taiwanese Representative Office’ name affected country’s ties with China but opening the office itself was not an error. China’s foreign ministry said, ‘action must be taken’ by Lithuania to correct its mistake. 

Meanwhile, the United States has vowed to reinforce its support and work with European allies to help Lithuania counter “economic coercion” by China. US trade representative Katherine Tai and Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said in a phone call on Wednesday the two nations would stay in regular communication to strengthen their economic relationship. 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US had immediate concern about “China’s attempts to bully Lithuania” as “China is pushing European and American companies to stop building products with components made in Lithuania or risk losing access to the Chinese market.

There have been reports Beijing unofficially blocked Lithuanian exports from entering its market and that it demanded other European companies not to use components made in Lithuania. The European Union complained to the World Trade Organization, but China denied the allegation.

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