It says the issuance of visas was suspended for technical reasons but it comes amid the ongoing crisis on Lithuanian-Chinese relations due to Vilnius' ties with Taiwan.

"Due to technical reasons, consular services will be suspended from November 25, 2021. The date of resumption of services will be notified later," the embassy said.

Last week, China officially downgraded its diplomatic relations with Lithuania to the level of chargés d'affaires. The move came in response to the opening of a Taiwanese representative office in Vilnius.

China is angered by Lithuania's decision to name the new representative office after "Taiwan" as Beijing sees it as Taiwan's attempt to act as an independent country. Elsewhere in the world, Taiwan's representative offices operate under the name of Taipei, in line with an international consensus that this does not run counter to the "one China" policy which prevents Taiwan from being treated as a separate state.

Chinese rep: there's a puppeteer behind Lithuania

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Zhao Lijian said he saw the United States behind Lithuania's actions on Taiwan.

His comment came in response to the news that Lithuania and the Export-Import Bank of the United States signed a commemoration memorandum that will provide a possibility for businesses exporting goods and services of US origin or made in the US to receive medium-term and long-term guarantees or loans of up to 600 million US dollars.

"(This) is further proof that behind Lithuania’s provocative move, there is a puppeteer master running the entire show with premeditation. The international community can see this clearly," Zhao Lijian was quoted as saying in a text published on the Chinese Foreign Ministry's website.

The Chinese representative also said Lithuania acted in bad faith, disregarding international norms, as a cat’s paw for a major country and would eventually pay for this.

The US went so far as to coerce or cajole other countries into serving as fodder for its political agenda, Zhao Lijian said.

"Lithuania ignored China’s stern position, disregarded the bigger picture of China-Lithuania relations and basic norms governing international relations, and openly created the false impression of “one China, one Taiwan” in the world, thus creating an egregious precedent," the spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry said. "China always makes resolute and necessary responses to all provocative moves undermining China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Those acting in bad faith and going further down the wrong path will only reap what they sow."

Lithuanian businessmen say the diplomatic dispute with China has led to a drop in trading volumes. Last spring, Lithuania withdrew from the 17+1 format of cooperation between Central and Eastern European countries and China as it has stepped up its ties with other East Asian countries in recent years.

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