Taiwan Plans $1 Billion Fund for Lithuania Projects as China Anger Mounts
(Bloomberg) -- Taiwan plans to open a $1 billion fund for joint projects between Lithuanian and Taiwanese companies in reaction to economic pressure on the Baltic country from China.
The announcement comes a week after Taiwan pledged to set up a $200 million fund to invest in Lithuania, which is facing trade hurdles and a downgrade of diplomatic ties with China. The dispute emerged after the European Union member allowed a representative office to open in its capital under the name of Taiwan, a move Beijing deems a violation of its one-China principle.
“This investment fund and credit loans will help us strengthen our cooperation,” Taiwanese National Development Council Minister Kung Ming-hsin said at a press conference on Tuesday. “The investment fund and the credit-loan fund are available for any projects that can benefit the industrial development of Taiwan and Lithuania.”
Lithuania plans to open a trade office in Taipei “early this spring,” Lithuanian Economy Minister Ausrine Armonaite said.
Taiwan is also working to redirect some containers of Lithuanian products that have been halted at Chinese ports and to open the island’s market for Lithuanian dairy and grain.
A Taiwanese company bought nearly 1,000 boxes of Lithuanian milk blocked by China and plans to use it for a new tea drink that will feature the colors of the Lithuanian flag -- yellow, green and red -- Radio Taiwan reported. Another Taiwanese company recently bought 20,400 bottles of Lithuanian rum that China refused to let into the country.
“Taiwan authorities are attempting to expand the room for Taiwan independence activities through dollar diplomacy,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular press briefing in Beijing on Wednesday. “Such attempts are doomed to fail.”
German State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Franziska Brantner arrived in Lithuania on Tuesday to discuss the pressure from China on Lithuanian businesses and multinational companies that have been pushed to end cooperation with Lithuania or risk Chinese customs restrictions.
“Lithuania is closely cooperating with the EU institutions and member states to resolve this important issue for the whole of the EU,” Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said after meeting Brantner. “I will discuss this with fellow EU foreign ministers at the informal meeting in France on Friday.”
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