Australia says it is not seeking to rename de facto Taiwan embassy | world news
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia is not considering renaming Taiwan’s de facto embassy in the country and remains committed to its one-China policy, Foreign Minister Marise Payne said on Wednesday, amid tensions in diplomatic relations with Beijing.
Payne said she had no discussions with Taiwan, a self-governing island that China claims as its own, about the possibility of changing the name of its representative office in Australia.
“No discussion of that nature,” Payne said during a press briefing in the capital Canberra with Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis. “Australia remains committed to our one China policy.”
The comments came as China downgraded relations with Lithuania and urged multinationals to sever ties with the Baltic state after the island opened a Taiwanese representative office in Vilnius last year, shunning use from the more common term, Taipei.
Australia has also joined the United States and Britain in backing a European Union trade case against China at the WTO over Beijing’s alleged trade restrictions on Lithuania which it says , threaten the integrity of the EU single market.
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Landsbergis, who was in Canberra to open the Lithuanian embassy, welcomed Australia’s decision at the WTO, adding that nations seeking to use trade as a retaliatory measure should be reminded that “countries sharing the same ideas have tools and regulations that help resist coercion”.
The Lithuanian minister added: “For a while, Australia was probably one of the main examples where China was using economy and trade as a political tool… now Lithuania is joining this exclusive club.”
Relations between Australia and China’s biggest trading partner are at an all-time low after Canberra banned Huawei Technologies from its 5G broadband network in 2018 and called for an independent investigation into the origins of COVID-19.
Beijing responded with tariffs on several Australian products, such as barley, beef, coal and wine.
(Reporting by Renju Jose; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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