Estonian MFA: China's pressure on Lithuania 'unacceptable'

Lithuanian flag.
Lithuanian flag. Source: Martin Dremljuga/ERR

China's "coercive steps" against Lithuanian diplomats are "unacceptable", the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday. Lithuania's diplomatic mission hastily left Beijing on Wednesday.

Lithuanian public broadcaster LRT reported Vilnius instructed its mission to return, fearing for their safety, after the Chinese Foreign Ministry asked them to hand in their identification cards in an apparent act to change the status of Lithuania's diplomatic representation. This could have stripped them of diplomatic immunity.

On Thursday Estonia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs reacted to the development, calling it "totally unacceptable" adding Estonia stands in "full solidarity with our friends".

"China's pressure on Lithuania is totally unacceptable. We oppose coercive steps against Lithuanian diplomatic representation and diplomats in Beijing and stand in full solidarity with our friends," a message posted on Twitter on Thursday said.

Last month, Beijing downgraded Lithuania's diplomatic representation from 'embassy' to 'charge d'affaires office', after Vilnius' decision to deepen its relations with Taiwan.

Relations between the countries have been worsening for several months.

Lithuania's foreign ministry said its representation to China will continue operating "remotely".


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Editor: Helen Wright

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