Legislative Speaker You Si-kun, second right, shakes hands with Laurynas Kasciunas, second left, head of the Lithuanian Parliament's Committee on National Security and Defense, who is leading a delegation that includes Dovile Sakaliene, left, vice chair of the Lithuanian Rithuanian Parliamentary Group with the Republic of China, at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday. Photo: CNA

By Wu Huizhong / AP, TAIPEI

Lithuanian lawmakers on a visit to Taiwan took aim at China yesterday, saying that the world's second-largest economy tried all sorts of measures to change Lithuania's decision to boost ties with Taipei.

The Lithuanian visit is focused on national security and defense as well as economic ties, the visiting lawmakers said.

“They tried to break our will, they tried to change our decision, they tried to harass investors and they tried to make economic sanctions ... but we survived,” said Laurynas Kasciunas, head of the Lithuanian Parliament's Committee on National Security and Defense "We are now resilient and stronger, and we can be a role model for other EU countries."

The Lithuanian delegation is led by Kasciunas, along with the vice chair of the Lithuanian Parliamentary Relations Group with the Republic of China, Dovile Sakaliene.

The lawmakers drew parallels between the threat they face from Russia and the threat Taiwan faces from China.

“We have very clear common goals, strengthening democracy globally ... and really helping everyone around us understand very clearly,” Sakaliene said. “There cannot be any ambivalence. You are either with the aggressor or you are with the victim.”

Sakaliene wrote on Facebook that their meetings would focus on boosting cybersecurity, countering disinformation and dealing with geopolitical security challenges.

Lithuania angered China after it broke with diplomatic convention, allowing Taipei to name its representative office in Vilnius “Taiwan.”

China expelled Lithuania's ambassador and downgraded diplomatic ties with the Baltic country. It also sought to punish the country economically by blocking imports from Lithuania into China.

Lithuania then closed its embassy in Beijing and in November opened a trade office in Taiwan.

Last year, Taiwan started a US$1 billion credit program to fund projects by Lithuanian and Taiwanese companies to counter economic pressure from China over the office that it opened in the EU country.

Additional reporting by CNA

News source: TAIPEI TIMES