A Lithuanian MP has labelled China the “People’s Republic of Comedy” during a dispute on ties with Taiwan.
Matas Maldeikis is leading a delegation in Taiwan to demonstrate further cooperation between EU nations and the island.
China claims Taiwan as its own territory and rejects any attempts by the self-ruling island to establish diplomatic relations with other countries.
Maldeikis — the chair of the Lithuanian parliament’s Taiwan Friendship Group — traded barbs with a Chinese journalist on Twitter over the matter.
Hu Xijing, editor-in-chief of the state-affiliated Global Times, had labelled Lithuanian MPs as “low-end European political actors” during the trip.
But Maldeikis hit back on Twitter, saying the Chinese President Xi Jinping was “sending his clown to attack us”.
“We should call China ‘The People’s Republic of Comedy’,” he added on Tuesday.
Lawmakers from all three Baltic states — Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania — met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Monday.
“Taiwan and the Baltic nations share similar experiences of breaking free of authoritarian rule and fighting for freedom,” Tsai said on Monday. “This is something we all understand most profoundly.”
“We are here to express our solidarity with you,” Maldeikis added at a joint press conference.
“We hope the soon-to-be-open Lithuanian trade office in Taiwan will help to expand the partnership between Taiwan and Lithuania and contribute to a closer relationship with Taiwan and the whole European bloc.”
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has condemned the visit and urged both sides to be “cautious with their words and actions”.
Last month, Taiwan opened a de facto embassy in Lithuania under the name of the Taiwanese Representative Office, with Luanian planning a similar move soon.
In response, China reduced its level of diplomatic relations with Lithuania to below ambassador level.