Taiwan Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Joanne Ou, said that Taiwan has officially joined the United States, Australia, and other countries as a third party to support the EU’s lawsuit in the World Trade Organization (WTO). The suit is against China for imposing illegal trade restrictions on Lithuania, according to Reuters, on Feb. 15.

Ou said, “China’s economic coercion [against Lithuania] has violated international economic and trade norms and should not be tolerated.”

“Our country will cooperate with like-minded partners such as Lithuania and the European Union to maintain a rules-based international trading system.”

French Trade Minister Franck Riester told AFP on Feb. 14 that “What China is doing with Lithuania is clearly coercion. The Chinese are using trade and economic weapons to put political pressure on us”.

The EU filed a complaint at the WTO last month, accusing China of discriminatory trade practices against Lithuania, threatening the integrity of the EU single market.

Last year, Lithuania allowed Taiwan to open its own representative office, a de facto embassy, in Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital, despite pressure from China. Beijing has since lowered diplomatic relations with Lithuania and pressured multinational companies to sever ties with the Baltic country.

After the WTO complaint is filed, the parties are allowed 60 days to negotiate to reach a solution. If no agreement is reached, the EU may choose to initiate a formal dispute resolution process at the WTO, which will set up a panel to hear the EU’s claims against China.

According to the Financial Times, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, and Taiwan have all announced that they will participate in the case, backing Lithuania.

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