Taiwan to establish Lithuania-related US$1 billion credit loan program

01/11/2022 09:09 PM
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Kung Ming-hsin, chief of Taiwan
Kung Ming-hsin, chief of Taiwan's National Development Council. CNA photo Jan. 11, 2022

Taipei, Jan. 11 (CNA) Taiwan on Tuesday announced that it will soon set up a US$1 billion credit fund to encourage Taiwan-Lithuania business cooperation and deepen bilateral economic ties, while also offsetting increasing Chinese economic pressure.

The credit fund is separate from a US$200 million fund Taiwan previously promised to use to prioritize investment in Lithuania before expanding it to include other central and eastern European countries, Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫), chief of Taiwan's National Development Council (NDC), told a virtual press event.

Kung said the credit loan fund, once launched, will be available to any project that benefits the development of Taiwan and Lithuania relations, including joint venture companies.

He said that Lithuania will also be the first country Taiwan works with as part of its soon-to-be-launched new cooperation program, announced by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) during her New Year address, to strengthen the nation's connections with Europe.

Speaking during the same virtual press event, Lithuania's Economy and Innovation Minister Ausrine Armonaite thanked Taiwan for purchasing many of Lithuania export consumer goods turned away by China.

In addition to Taiwan's promises relating to the US$1 billion credit loan fund and US$200 million investment fund, Armonaite said Taiwan's world-leading semiconductor experts will soon meet with their Lithuanian counterparts to look for joint cooperation opportunities.

Armonaite disclosed that a planned Lithuanian trade representative office in Taipei will likely open and start operating sometime this spring. The country is also considering opening offices in Japan, South Korea, and ASEAN countries, he said.

ASEAN is an abbreviation for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, an economic union comprising 10 member states in Southeast Asia.

In response, Kung said Taiwan welcomes the Lithuanian office. The opening of reciprocal representative office in respective countries further enhances two-way relations on all fronts, he added.

Taiwan opened a representative office in Vilnius in November last year.

Lithuania faces increasing political and economic pressure from Beijing over its decision to allow the use of the word "Taiwanese" in the name of Taiwan's representative office in the Baltic state.

Taiwan typically uses "Taipei Economic and Cultural Office" or "Taipei Representative Office" as the name for its de facto embassies in most countries, mainly due to the host country's preference to avoid any semblance of treating Taiwan as a separate country due to Beijing's "one-China" principle.

Under the principle, China considers Taiwan to be an inseparable part of its sovereign territory. As a result, Beijing has sought to impose a cost on Lithuania for its decision to allow the use of "Taiwanese" in the name of Taiwan's office.

Recent punitive measures taken by Beijing have included recalling its ambassador to Lithuania and expelling the Lithuanian ambassador to China, as well as suspending direct freight rail services and banning Lithuanian products from entering the Chinese market.

(By Joseph Yeh)

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