August 14, 2021

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman spoke with Lithuania’s foreign minister on Friday and reiterated U.S. support for the country in the face of pressure from China over its decision to develop ties with Taiwan, the State Department said.

Sherman told Gabrielius Landsbergis the United States was “resolute in our solidarity” with Lithuania, a NATO ally and a partner as a member of the European Union, over what she termed China’s “coercive behavior” towards Vilnius, the statement said.

The two diplomats also discussed the political situation in Belarus, reaffirming support for the Belarusian pro-democracy movement and calling on the president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, “to immediately halt a campaign of orchestrating irregular migrant flows across its borders,” it said.

China this week demanded that Lithuania withdraw its ambassador in Beijing and said it would recall the Chinese envoy to Vilnius in a row over the Baltic state allowing Chinese-claimed Taiwan to open a de facto embassy there using its own name.

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Daniel Wallis)