Lithuania considers modifying Taiwan representation name to defuse row with China

By Andrius Sytas

VILNIUS (Reuters) -Lithuanian officials, seeking to defuse a row with China, are discussing whether to ask their Taiwanese counterparts to modify the Chinese translation of the name of Taiwan's de-facto embassy in Vilnius, two sources told Reuters.

The self-ruled island that China views as part of its territory has other offices in Europe and the United States but they use the name of the city Taipei, avoiding reference to the island itself.

The row erupted after the Baltic state allowed the opening of the Taiwanese Representation office in Vilnius.

China has downgraded its diplomatic relationship with Lithuania and pressed multinationals to sever ties with the country or face exclusion from its market.

That is an unusually harsh move that has dragged companies into a political dispute and placed Beijing on a collision course with the European Union. [L1N2SU0G7]

Modifying the Chinese version of the representation name to refer to "Taiwanese people" rather than to Taiwan, was last week proposed by Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis to President Gitanas Nauseda as a way to reduce the tensions with China, sources said.