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Lithuania to get U.S. trade support as it faces China fury over Taiwan

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives with Lithuania's Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis in the Benjamin Franklin Room of the State Department ahead of a meeting, in Washington, D.C., U.S., September 15, 2021. Mandel Ngan/Pool via REUTERS

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VILNIUS, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Lithuania will sign a $600 million export credit agreement with the U.S. Export-Import Bank next week, Economy Minister Ausrine Armonaite told Reuters, days after China warned it would "take all necessary measures" after Lithuania allowed Taiwan to open a de facto embassy.

China demanded in August that the Baltic state withdraw its ambassador to Beijing and said it would recall China's envoy in Vilnius after Taiwan announced its office would be called the Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania.

Other Taiwan offices in Europe and the United States use the name of the capital Taipei, avoiding a reference to the island itself, which China claims as its own territory.

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis in August and agreed on "bilateral coordinated action" to help the country withstand pressure from China.

"We think that economic ties with democratic states are more stable and lasting, they are grounded on the rule of law, so they meet Lithuanian interests better," Landsbergis told reporters in Vilnius on Thursday.

"Lithuania only has itself to blame, it will have to pay for what it did," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a daily press briefing on Friday. read more

Lithuania said earlier this year it would no longer participate in a Beijing-led trade grouping with Central European countries.

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Reporting by Andrius Sytas in Vilnius; Editing by Giles Elgood

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