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Intellasia East Asia News – Lithuanian president urges ministers to ‘fix’ Taiwan office name to placate China

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda was cited by LRT on Thursday (January 27) as calling on his country’s ministers to “fix” the name of Taiwan’s representative office in Vilnius.

On November 18, Taiwan opened a de facto embassy in Lithuania under the name Taiwanese Representative Office in Vilnius, while the Chinese version of the name uses the word “Taiwan”. Since the establishment of the office, Beijing has sought to pressure Lithuania into changing the name of the office to use “Taipei” in the name instead or close it down altogether.

In an interview with LRT Radio, Nauseda said that the name of the office “does not sound the same in the Lithuanian, English and Chinese languages. So let’s at least fix those things that are clearly visible.” He went on to claim that these different translations were the source of “unnecessary questions and unnecessary tensions.”

Nauseda then expressed his belief that the office’s Mandarin name rather than its English name was “a key factor” in tensions with China. He again repeated his claim that he was not consulted over the naming of the office.

He acknowledged that Lithuania needs to coordinate with the EU in countering China’s pressure tactics in general, but he worried that Beijing’s retaliation over the naming convention has created “certain tangible losses for parts of Lithuanian businesses and we cannot tolerate that.”

On Tuesday (January 25), Reuters cited two sources as saying that Lithuanian Foreign minister Gabrielius Landsbergis had proposed to Nauseda that the Chinese version of the name be changed to “Taiwanese people” to assuage Beijing and make it consistent with the English and Taiwanese versions.

However, Landsbergis on Wednesday (January 26) denied the report saying there are no intentions or plans to change the office’s name. He claimed that the focus of his meeting with Nauseda was to discuss ways to deal with trade issues resulting from Beijing’s economic pressure tactics.


Category: Taiwan

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