As it tries to ward off Chinese diplomatic and trade pressure on Lithuania, Taiwan has announced the establishment of a $200 million fund to invest in the Baltic state.
Taipei has stated that it plans to make its first investment later this year, with the funds guaranteed by the Taiwanese government’s national development fund and central bank.
It comes after Lithuania permitted Taiwan to open a de facto embassy there, indicating that the two countries’ connections are deepening.
China downgraded its diplomatic relations with Lithuania days afterward.
“It’s time for us to help with your difficulties,” Taiwan’s deputy minister for foreign affairs Harry Ho-jen Tseng told Lithuania while announcing the plan.
After purchasing 20,000 bottles of Lithuanian rum bound for China, Taiwan is sharing advice with the public on how to consume and cook with rum.
Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation bought the rum following it coming to learning that it would be banned from entering China, according to state-run media.
China has refuted restricting trade from Lithuania, claiming that doing so would violate international trade regulations. However, the European Union has confirmed allegations of products being held up at Chinese customs.
Although China accounts for only 1% of Lithuania’s exports, the issue with rum imports is the most recent case alleged to have impacted Lithuanian enterprises.
Beijing has a record of levying informal trade penalties against nations with which it has a disagreement. It has also imposed boycotts on a number of Australian products, including meat, wine, and barley.
After the Baltic state permitted Taiwan to construct a de facto embassy there, China downgraded its diplomatic relations with Lithuania in November.
The new office is called Taiwan rather than “Chinese Taipei,” as many other countries have done to avoid hurting China.
The opening of a new Taiwanese office in Lithuania does not imply official diplomatic connections, but it might be interpreted as an indication of strengthening ties between the two countries.
It was the first new diplomatic presence for the island in Europe in 18 years. As a result of China’s coercion, Taiwan has only a few formal allies.
Lithuania affirmed its right to have relations with Taiwan while also stating that it adhered to the “One China” policy.
The diplomatic acceptance of China’s assertion that there is only one Chinese government is known as the One China policy.
Beijing considers Taiwan to be part of its territory, despite the fact that it is a self-governing democratic state. It has increased pressure on the island to isolate it from its international allies in the recent years.
(Adapted from Indepndent.co.uk)