China suspends beef imports from Lithuania amid dispute over Taiwan

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By Euronews
Lithuania's embassy in China has been closed since December over the Taiwan row.
Lithuania's embassy in China has been closed since December over the Taiwan row.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File

China has suspended beef imports from Lithuania in an escalating row over the European country's support for Taiwan.

The General Administration of Customs confirmed on Thursday that meat would no longer be imported from Lithuania, without elaborating.

The EU member state had recently allowed Taiwan to open an official representative office in Vilnius under its own name, instead of "Chinese Taipei".

China responded by restricting diplomatic contacts with Lithuania and halting visas to the country.

Beijing claims Taiwan as part of its territory and does not give diplomatic recognition to nations that treat the island as a separate state.

Lithuania claims that China has been blocking imports from the country in retaliation since December.

Last month, Brussels announced a World Trade Organisation (WTO) case would be launched against China for discriminatory trade practices against Lithuania that affect the whole of the EU.

Australia, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States have all backed the European Union's case.

On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters that Lithuania should correct its mistakes, without mentioning the trade dispute.

"What Lithuania should do is face up to facts, redress its own mistakes, and come back to the right track of adhering to the one-China principle, instead of confusing right with wrong," he said.

Additional sources • AFP