Washington DC [US], August 22 (ANI): US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis on Saturday and reaffirmed the strength and breadth of the US-Lithuanian bilateral relationship.
Blinken underscored "ironclad US solidarity" with Lithuania in the face of "China's coercive behavior."
"Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke with Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis today. Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Landsbergis reaffirmed the strength and breadth of the US-Lithuanian bilateral relationship. Secretary Blinken underscored ironclad US solidarity with our NATO Ally and EU partner Lithuania in the face of the People's Republic of China's coercive behaviour," US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said in a readout.
Last week, the United States had backed Lithuania after China threatened the Baltic nation over Vilnius's decision to establish the Taiwan representative office. This comes after China recalled its envoy over Vilnius' plan to open a Taiwan representative office.
While expressing regret at China's decision to recall its envoy, Lithuania had said it is determined to pursue mutually beneficial ties with Taiwan.
In July, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu announced that Taiwan would open a representative office in Vilnius. Lithuania does not yet have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but it maintains increasingly friendly relations with Taipei. Vilnius has been an increasingly vocal critic of China's actions towards Taiwan, as well as in Xinjiang and Hong Kong.
Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan located off the southeastern coast of mainland China, despite the fact that the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades.
Tensions between China and Lithuania have escalated in recent months. In May, Lithuania pulled out of China's 17+1 cooperation forum with central and eastern European states. (ANI)