BEIJING, China (Reuters) – For “technical problems,” China’s embassy in Lithuania has temporarily ceased consular services until further notice, according to a statement posted on the mission’s website on Thursday.
China downgraded its diplomatic relations with Lithuania on Sunday, expressing deep unhappiness with the creation of a de facto Lithuanian embassy in Taiwan.
According to a timestamp on the Chinese embassy’s website, the message was released at 1336 GMT but had vanished by 1400 GMT.
China considers self-ruled Taiwan to be its territory with no claim to statehood, and has stepped up pressure on countries to reduce or end any ties with the island, including non-official ones.
Although Lithuania maintains legal relations with China and not Taiwan, Beijing was irritated earlier this year when the island was permitted to build an office in the nation under the name Taiwan. In August, China recalled its ambassador.
When asked about Beijing’s decision to cut relations with Vilnius, Chinese commerce ministry spokeswoman Shu Jueting said on Thursday that Lithuania’s decision had badly harmed the trust of businesses in both nations, and that the EU member state must shoulder all the repercussions.
China wants Lithuania to promptly reverse its mistake and uphold its commitment to the “One China” concept, according to Shu, referring to a basic Chinese government policy that declares Taiwan to be a part of China.