The comparatively minuscule country of Lithuania, which sports just three million residents, has taken a stand against a titan in the form of communist China, which itself has a population of almost 1.4 billion residents. They have done so by allowing the official opening of a Taiwanese Representative Office in the capital city of Vilnius which has provoked China into trying to strong-arm the smaller country into submission. So far they have sent Lithuania’s ambassador home, recalled China’s own ambassador, and minimized the diplomatic status of its embassy.
“Reuters reports that China has also told multinationals such as Germany’s car parts maker Continental to stop using components made in Lithuania or face being denied access to the much more lucrative China market. China’s foreign ministry denies the pressure, along with Lithuanian charges that its goods are being blocked,” stated The Wall Street Journal, which then noted that Australia also wanted to incite an international investigation into the origins of the entire COVID-19 outbreak, and did not care when China attempted to start a trade war targeting them.
“The European Union has the bigger responsibility regarding Lithuania. If Australia can stand up to Beijing, surely the EU can. One way to send a signal might be for the EU to call on its members to withdraw from the 17+1, a Chinese diplomatic initiative aimed at Central and East European nations,” continued The Journal.
The Global Times, the Chinese state-owned newspaper group, issued a report that stated that Zhao Lijian, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, issued a threat stating that Lithuania would end up in the “garbage bin of history”:
Lithuania has recklessly violated the One China principle, a basic norm of international relations and a universal consensus held by the international community, a move destined to be spurned and opposed, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters on Monday. Lithuania stands on the opposite side of universal principles and justice which will never end well, Zhao said, noting that those who insist on acting in collusion with Taiwan secessionist forces will eventually be swept into the garbage bin of history.
Calling out the EU for its obeisance to the communist country, Giulio Meotti, an Italian journalist, stated: “When a single European country comes under attack, Brussels capitulates. It did not respond to Turkish threats at Greece’s maritime borders. It let Poland alone face Belarus’s ‘hybrid war’ with migrants on its border (it is no coincidence that Lithuania has built a wall on the border with Belarus to repel the onslaught of migrants). Italy has for years been abandoned to its fate in the face of migratory waves. And now little Lithuania.”
Kurt Campbell, the U.S. National Security Council Indo-Pacific affairs advisor, highlighted the courageous stand against China being taken by the Australians, “I think China’s preference would have been to break Australia. To drive Australia to its knees. I don’t believe that’s going to be the way it’s going to play out.”
“The bottom line: Beijing’s attempt to bully Canberra has been a spectacular failure,” agreed USAsia Centre research director Jeffrey Wilson, adding, “If this is what decoupling from China looks like, Australia’s resilience suggests the costs are far lower than many have assumed. That fact will not be lost on other countries that have differences with China.”