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China raps Slovenia over letter on Chinese pressure

China raps Slovenia over letter on Chinese pressure
Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa at a news conference on Jul 6, 2021. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/Pool/Files

BEIJING: China's Foreign Ministry criticised current EU president Slovenia on Thursday (Sep 16) for a letter the country's prime minister wrote urging the European Union to stand with Lithuania against Chinese pressure and not give in to trade threats.

China's decision to withdraw its ambassador to Lithuania over a dispute about Taiwan was "reprehensible" and would hurt EU-China ties, Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa, whose country holds the six-month EU presidency, said in his Sep 13 letter.

China is unhappy with Lithuania for allowing Chinese-claimed Taiwan to open a de facto embassy in the country.

"China urges Slovenia and the EU to take a correct and objective stance on Taiwan-related issues and not to use the subject to create new troubles for China-EU relations," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters.

China routinely objects to any moves that imply democratically-ruled Taiwan is its own country rather than part of China, and has been increasing pressure on the island to accept Beijing's sovereignty, to anger in Taipei.

Taiwan's Foreign Ministry welcomed the Slovene letter.

"It can be seen that the support of the international democratic camp for the two countries of Taiwan and Lithuania is becoming stronger and stronger," it said.

China's dispute with Lithuania has also dragged in the United States.

US President Joe Biden's national security adviser spoke to Lithuania's prime minister on Monday and stressed support for her country in the face of pressure from China.

Source: Reuters/vc

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