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EDITORIAL | China’s Shameful Intimidation of Lithuania and Taiwan

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson threatened that “Lithuania would be swept into the trash bin of history” just for recognizing Taiwan’s office.

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he Lithuanian Embassy is seen in Beijing, Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021. Lithuania said Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021, that it has closed its embassy in Beijing and pulled its last diplomat out of the Chinese capital, a move that came amid a spat over the European Union nation allowing Taiwan to open a representative office in its capital, Vilnius. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

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China must stop applying unreasonable pressure on Lithuania.

In November 2021, a Taiwanese Representative Office was opened in Lithuania, after the Baltic state agreed to use the word Taiwan in the office’s name.

Taiwan Representative Office in Lithuania

Lithuania has a history of being oppressed. It used to be part of the former Soviet Union – a Communist state – and takes the basic values of freedom and democracy seriously. It is sensitive to human rights issues caused by totalitarian countries.

In May 2021, the Lithuanian parliament passed a resolution condemning Uyghur genocide in China. In the same month, the country withdrew from the 17+1 cooperation forum, which promotes economic relations between China and Central and Eastern European countries.

Lithuania has also donated about 250,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to Taiwan – deepening friendship between the former and the latter.

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China has criticized the Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania because it goes against the “One China” principle.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen poses for pictures with a delegation of lawmakers from Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, at the Presidential Office in Taipei, Taiwan November 29, 2021. Taiwan Presidential Office/Handout via REUTERS

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson has warned that “Lithuania would be swept into the trash bin of history.” A publication linked to the main newspaper in China, the People’s Daily, released an editorial in which it said that it is ridiculous for a small country like Lithuania to worsen its relations with such a huge nation as China.

But what is ridiculous is the Chinese government’s distorted sense concerning its own magnitude.

The Chinese Ambassador to Lithuania was recalled to China, and the role of the Chinese Embassy in the Baltic state was downgraded, which included the suspension of consular services such as visa issuance.

Beijing also expelled Lithuanian diplomats from China, contravening the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian has called it “false news” that Beijing has blocked Lithuanian imports or pressured multinational companies that do business with the EU country. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, file)

China has also blocked Lithuanian imports at customs, and said that it will shut out EU goods containing Lithuanian components from the Chinese market. Concerned by this situation, the German business world has asked the Lithuanian government to find a compromise with China.

Subsequently, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said that it was a mistake to recognize the name of the Taiwanese office, and that he was not involved in the decision-making process.

However, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister, Gabrielius Landsbergis, insisted that he consulted with the president about the name. Landsbergis added that Lithuania had done nothing wrong regarding the name of the office.

The EU may involve the WTO to resolve the trade issue with China. In the meantime, China must stop bullying Lithuania, which has now gone so far as to involve the European Union.

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(Read the editorial in Japanese at this link.)

Author: Editorial Board, The Sankei Shimbun

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. pdvesely

    January 23, 2022 at 5:13 am

    SECURITY -UNITED STATES – TAIWAN – JAPAN

    This article deals with China’s overwhelming and pathological concern about Taiwan being recognized as a legitimate country .The question of an invasion of Taiwan by China is more about when rather than if.

    Can Japan rely on the United States as a key element in their defense ?

    It would serve Japan well to examine the history of the relationship between the United States and Taiwan . Specifically the Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty 1955 > 1980 . Here is a brief history .

    The Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty, formally Mutual Defense Treaty between the United States of America and the Republic of China was a defense pact signed between the United States and the Republic of China (Taiwan) effective from 1955 to 1980. It was intended to defend the island of Taiwan from invasion by the People’s Republic of China. Some of its content was carried over to the Taiwan

    This treaty was terminated in January 1980 after we established Diplomatic Relations with the PRC. The authority of then President Jimmy Carter to annul this treaty was challenged in the Supreme Court. The court declined to rule on this legality therefore the treaty as it was originally written was nullified. The original Treaty was replaced by the Taiwan Relations Act which effectively removed the of the United States to provide Taiwan with direct military assistance.

    Glaring weakness in the Japan – U.S. Security Treaty

    Article X – After this Treaty has been in force for Ten Years ,either Party may give notice to the other Party of its intention to terminate the Treaty, in which case the Treaty shall terminate one year after such notice has been given.

    China with their incursions into the South and East China seas constitute a clear danger to Japan. North Korea seems intent on generating concern in Japan with their development of Nuclear Weapons and delivery system . Missiles are routinely being tested and flown through Japanese Airspace.

    Japan would do well to modify their Constitution , specifically article 9 and the phrase ” Military forces with war potential will not be maintained “. As an American , it troubles me to say this but future reliance on the United States for defense may not be a good idea.

  2. Andrius

    January 19, 2022 at 6:02 am

    Thank you for your support! I’ve always been facinated by your beautiful country Japan and your people’s sense of right and wrong. Thank you again and warmest greatings from Lithuania!

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