Lithuania mulls amendment for representative office in Taiwan

Taiwan and Lithuania could be on the verge of a diplomatic breakthrough. According to the Baltic News Service, the Lithuanian government has proposed a bill to pave the way for opening a Taiwan trade office. Speaking to another media outlet, Lithuania’s foreign minister said that advancing ties with Taiwan does not violate the “one China” policy.

The government of Lithuania has reportedly submitted a bill to remove restrictions on sending trade representatives to Taiwan. The move is believed to be a step toward setting up an economic representative office in Taiwan later this year. Taiwan’s foreign ministry has responded positively to the news.

Joanne Ou, foreign ministry spokesperson: Lithuania is looking to amend its internal laws as preparation for establishing a representative office in Taiwan and sending officials here. We at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcome such a development.

Lithuania has shown support for Taiwan on many occasions in the past. Back in 2019, a majority of its parliament and its health minister endorsed Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Assembly. Last year, 200 prominent figures in political circles and academia signed a petition for the country to establish a representative office in Taiwan. In response to China’s objections, Lithuania’s foreign minister said that furthering relations with Taiwan does not violate the “one China” policy.

Looking back at recent history. In February, after Taiwan announced it would set up an office in Guyana, China moved to block the plan using financial incentives and the offer of vaccines. Within 24 hours, Guyana unilaterally announced the termination of its agreement with Taiwan. To prevent a similar situation from unfolding with Lithuania, Taiwan officials are keeping a tight lid on all details related to a potential trade office.

Joanne Ou, foreign ministry spokesperson: Lithuania’s national broadcaster, LRT, had already published a report on the issue on March 23.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wouldn’t comment on the prospect of Lithuania office, as there are still many variables at play.