Lithuania–Taiwan relations


Lithuania-Taiwan relations or historically Sino–Lithuanian relations are the diplomatic relations between Lithuania and the Republic of China (commonly known as Taiwan). Lithuania and the Republic of China established diplomatic relations in 1921, which continued until the Soviet occupation of the Baltic states in 1940. After Lithuania's independence in 1990, it decided to instead establish relations with the People's Republic of China despite harboring considerable gratitude to the Taiwanese for not recognizing the Soviet annexation.[1] Since then Lithuania-Taiwan relations have been steadily growing closer, with significant breakthroughs in recent years.

Lithuania–Taiwan relations

Lithuania

Taiwan

In the absence of official diplomatic relations, Lithuania is accredited to the Taipei Mission in the Republic of Latvia. Lithuania is establishing a trade office in Taiwan in 2021.

History


During the Interwar Period, both Lithuania and the ROC were relatively new countries, with Lithuania having declared independence in 1918 and the ROC having recently overthrown the Qing dynasty. The two countries established diplomatic relations in 1921, continuing until Lithuania's annexation by the Soviet Union in 1940. Relations were de facto nonexistent during World War II and subsequent Soviet occupation, but the ROC, which shortly retreated to the island of Taiwan, a former Qing prefecture-turned-Japanese colony, refused to recognize the annexation during the entire period of time.

Following Lithuanian restoration of independence, the Republic of Lithuania decided to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China instead of the Nationalist government in Taiwan. Lithuania and Taiwan did not have much exchange throughout the 1990s and 2000s, with Taiwan's main partner in the Baltic states being Latvia.[2]

In 2019, Lithuania published its National Threat Assessment 2019, an intelligence report that listed China as a security threat for the first time.[3] Since then Lithuania-Taiwan relations have rapidly warmed, and in April 2020 200 Lithuanian politicians and public figures petitioned the President of Lithuania to support Taiwan's membership in the World Health Organization. These calls were reiterated by the then-foreign minister, Linas Linkevičius, in a direct phone call with the head of the WHO.[4] On 19 June 2020, Taiwanese representative to the Baltic states Andy Chin spoke in the Seimas at the invitation of the opposition Homeland Union, enraging China and marking the highest status any Taiwanese official had achieved in the Baltic states.[5] Since then Lithuanian politicians have consistently supported Taiwan, with members of the Seimas being by far the largest amount of supporters of Miloš Vystrčil's visit to Taiwan.[6]

Lithuania's Freedom Party has a clause supporting full recognition of the ROC as the sole legitimate government of China rather than the PRC,[7] and in the 2020 Lithuanian parliamentary election, parties sympathetic to Taiwan such as the Homeland Union and Freedom Party entered government and formed a coalition. In 2021, the Lithuania-Taiwan Forum was established by over 50 Lithuanian political figures,[8] and it was announced that Lithuania would open a trade office in Taiwan amidst growing discontent with China's "17 + 1" program.[9]

Economy


In 2019 Lithuania exported $37.8 million to Taiwan or 0.12%, and imported $97.3 million, or 0.3%.[10] Lithuanian exports were fairly diverse, while Taiwanese exports were mainly in the tech and machinery sector.

Cultural


Taipei and Vilnius established sister city status on 28 May 1998.[11]

See also


References


  1. "Taiwan and Lithuania's Ties Grow Tighter". chinaobservers. 13 January 2021. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  2. Andrijauskas, Konstantinas. "Taiwan and Lithuania ties grow tighter". China Observers. China Observers.EU. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  3. "National Threat Assessment" (PDF). www.vsd.lt. 2019. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  4. "Lithuania calls on WHO to invite Taiwan to international assembly". lrt.lt. 13 May 2020. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  5. "Chinese ambassador incensed after Taiwan representative speaks in Lithuanian parliament". lrt.lt. 23 June 2020. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  6. "Political leaders express solidarity with Czech Senate President Miloš Vystrčil in connection to his official visit to Taiwan". Miriam Lexmann (in Latin). 25 August 2020. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  7. "Laisvės partijos" (PDF). www.laisvespartija.lt. 2020. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  8. "BNS: Naujiena". BNS (in Lithuanian). 22 March 2021. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  9. "Lithuania to open Taiwan trade office, the latest sign of discontent with China by a '17+1' member". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 23 March 2021.<
  10. "Lithuania (LTU) Exports, Imports, and Trade Partners – The Observatory of Economic Complexity". OEC. 1 January 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  11. "Taipei City Council-International Sister Cities". 臺北市議會 (in Chinese). 1 January 2002. Retrieved 23 March 2021.