Lithuania starts 'rumor' over ID cards

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Lithuania has never applied for an extension of the identification documents of its diplomats in China, and was "simply starting a rumor" by claiming that it didn't get a reply from China for its request for an extension, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Friday.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said on Thursday that Chinese authorities had informed Lithuanian diplomats that their identification cards would soon no longer be valid, and that the Lithuanian side was "given extremely short time", but "did not get any answer" to its request for a longer period, according to Reuters.

Rebuking Landsbergis' remarks, Wang said that Lithuania created "a farce" by suddenly having all its diplomats leave China without informing China in advance.

After Lithuania allowed Taiwan authorities to set up a "representative office" there, China announced the downgrading of its ties with the Baltic country to the level of charge d'affaires in November.

The measure conforms to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, general international law and practice, and the diplomatic principle of reciprocity, Wang said at a news conference.

Under the circumstances that bilateral ties had already been downgraded, China asked the Lithuanian mission in China to renew the identification documents for its diplomats, Wang said.

Such a move is a normal procedure of China's service for and management of foreign diplomatic missions, conforms to international law and conventions, and does not affect the Lithuanian diplomats' normal performance of duty or their life, he said.

In the meantime, China, according to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, guarantees safety and lawful rights of all diplomatic missions in the country, and ensures normal operation of all the missions, including Lithuania's, Wang said.

"Instead of facing and rectifying its mistake, Lithuania spread false information and tried to deflect its responsibility, which China regrets deeply and opposes firmly," Wang said. "Lithuania's attempt to create the false impression of 'one China, one Taiwan' and undermine China's sovereignty will fail."

Also, Lithuania is "totally miscalculating" by "attempting to blackmail China politically", Wang added.

Regarding Czech media reports that China may detain a Lithuanian national without criminal charges, Wang said the reports are "purely fictional and very absurd".

Commenting on a resolution the foreign affairs committee of the senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic passed to call for the Czech government to support the departure of Lithuanian diplomats in China, Wang urged "the relevant side to ... observe the one-China principle and take concrete actions to maintain the healthy development of bilateral ties and China-Europe ties".

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