China on Thursday blasted the U.S. for its support of Lithuania, which has gone further than most other nations in its recognition of Taiwan.
“The U.S. side has defended Lithuania’s erroneous act of creating ‘one China, one Taiwan,’ and attempted to put together a small clique condoning the Taiwan independence forces,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said, The Associated Press reported.
The condemnation comes after U.S. diplomats spoke out against China’s treatment of Lithuania after it allowed Taiwan’s diplomatic office to use the name Taiwan and not Chinese Taipei, which is Beijing’s preferred name for the island.
China withdrew its ambassador to Lithuania and kicked out the Lithuanian ambassador in Beijing, according to the AP.
Lithuania has responded by closing the Chinese Embassy and plans to open an office in Taiwan.
China claims sovereignty over Taiwan, though the island has been a self-ruled democracy for decades. The international community has been attempting to walk a tightrope to help Taiwan but not anger Beijing, which has not ruled out seizing the island by force.
Wang said the U.S. is using Lithuania to “use Taiwan to contain China.”
Taiwan has given millions of dollars in investment to Lithuania to make up for the economic impacts the fight with China has cost the country.
China has not confirmed reports that it has effectively instituted a trade ban on Lithuania. The country has pressured companies to stop working with Lithuania or not be allowed in China, the AP noted.