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Offbeat: Lead 1-Taiwan-China Detrograde its diplomatic relations with Lithuania

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China-Lithuania / Taiwan (Lead 1, Photo): Lead 1-Taiwan-China retrograde its diplomatic relations with Lithuania

(updated with reaction of the European Commission)

by Norithiko Shirouzu and Andrius Sytas

PEKIN / VILNIUS, 21 November (Reuters) - China has downgraded its diplomatic relations on Sunday with Lithuania, which has authorized the opening in Vilnius of a de facto embassy of Taiwan.

formally called "Republic of China", Taiwan Island is not recognized by most countries that have diplomatic relations with Beijing.

Their embassies usually use the name "Taipei" to present the island so as not to crumple continental China that considers Taiwan as a rebel province under its control.

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China had expressed its anger last summer after the announcement of the opening of a Taiwanese representation office in Vilnius, effective opening since Thursday. Beijing had recalled his ambassador in August as a sign of protest.

The Lithuanian decision to ignore Chinese reprobation "undermines China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and interferes seriously in China's internal affairs," said Sunday in a statement the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Speaking of "a bad precedent on the international scene".

The relations between Beijing and Vilnius are downgraded to the rank of "business manager", he says.

"We urge the Lithuanian part to correct its mistakes immediately and not to underestimate the firm determination of the Chinese people (...) to defend its national sovereignty and territorial integrity," says the department.

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The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its "regret" in a statement.

"Lithuania reaffirms its membership of the policy 'a China' but at the same time the right to expand its cooperation with Taiwan, and to accept and establish non-diplomatic representations that make it possible to develop relations, As has been the case in many other countries, "he says, pointing out that his policy obeys economic considerations.

The Taiwanese Continental Affairs Council has denounced China's impoliteness and arrogance, believing that Beijing had no right to comment on a case that does not fall under its domestic policy.

The European Commission, by the voice of a spokesman, said Sunday that the initiative of Lithuania did not violate the accession of the European Union to the principle of "one China", and that This case was bilateral relations between China and Lithuania.

The EU stands alongside Lithuania, he said. (Report Norihiko Shirouzu and Cheng Leng in Beijing, Ben Blanchard in Taipei and Andrius Sytas in Vilnius, French version Sophie Louet)

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