When the United States recognized the People's Republic of China as the sole legitimate entity of "China" in 1979, it established a non-governmental body known as the American Institute in Taiwan to serve its interests on the island. By contrast, other countries were represented by privately operated bodies; the United Kingdom was informally represented by the "Anglo-Taiwan Trade Committee", while France was similarly represented by a "Trade Office".[4]


Did China ever condemn a country for setting up a de facto embassy in Taiwan? A lot of countries like the United States have set up de facto embassies in Taiwan in order to not anger the government of China. I was wondering if China ever publicly condemned a country for setting up a de facto embassy in Taiwan, or whether China tolerate such moves as an acceptable compromise.

  • 1
    I think the Chinese CCP does not care about foreign countries setting up offices in Taiwan as long as the countries do not formally recognize Taiwan's independence. In fact, China has benefited from the fruits of Taiwan's trade with other countries.
    – r13
    Feb 4 at 21:26

2 Answers 2


China doesn't necessarily condemn countries with open ties to Taiwan, but they'd like to help you out with domestic projects if you cut those ties

The closure of Taiwanese embassies has become increasingly common as Beijing has ramped up its efforts to sway countries to its side, often by offering increased trade and investment. China’s campaign has picked up speed since Tsai—of the Democratic Progressive Party, which promotes Taiwanese nationalism—took office in 2016. Since then, nine countries have switched recognition to China.

The most recent ally to switch was Honduras, this March, thanks to Chinese promises to finance a hydroelectric dam as well as rail and port projects. Some of these opportunities are offered through China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which eight countries in the Caribbean have joined, including former Taiwanese allies such as the Dominican Republic. This worries not only Taipei, which can’t compete with Beijing’s deep pockets, but also Washington, which sees growing Chinese influence in the Caribbean as alarmingly close to home.

What about the rest? There's 60 countries that have de-facto embassies. Virtually all of them are in a delicate dance with Beijing to keep good relations with Taiwan, while not drawing the ire of China, which openly condemns all support for Taiwan

After the DPP's presidential candidate Lai won the vote, several ministers and politicians in countries that share warm, if in most cases unofficial, ties with the self-ruled island sent congratulatory messages to Lai and the DPP.

This drew swift responses from Chinese embassies, highlighting Beijing's sensitivity to other countries appearing to give legitimacy to a candidate and political party it views as "secessionist forces" hoping to turn Taiwan - which it claims as its own - into an independent sovereign nation.

The Chinese foreign ministry on Sunday described a statement from U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, which congratulated Lai and said Washington looked forward to further its unofficial relationship with Taiwan, as "sending a seriously incorrect signal" to "Taiwan independence separatist forces".

"China has always firmly opposed any form of official exchanges between the United States and Taiwan, and resolutely opposes the United States interfering in Taiwan affairs in any form and under any pretext," the foreign ministry said in a statement published on its website.

And later

The Chinese embassy in Japan went as far as lodging solemn representations, a form of official diplomatic protest, after Japanese foreign minister Yoko Kamikawa congratulated Lai on his victory.

Anytime anyone does anything that could even potentially benefit Taiwan, China is both swift and vociferous to issue condemnation. De-facto embassies would fall into that category.


I think Lithuania got for that:

China reacted fiercely. It banned imports from Lithuania and pressured foreign manufacturers to stop using Lithuanian parts. Beijing withdrew its ambassador from Vilnius and the Baltic country was forced to evacuate its remaining diplomats from China over fears for their safety.

  • IIRC Lithuania allowed Taiwan to open an embassy in Vilnius rather than the other way around, as the Q is asking. Feb 6 at 0:08

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