With a population of less than three million, Lithuania is one of the countries that has gone the furthest in the simultaneous challenge of China and Russia, and the two giants seem to have joined forces to teach it a lesson.
The small Baltic state was collimated by both Moscow and Beijing. Lithuania has a “disproportionate role in promoting human rights and democracy”, which is why Russia is “increasing pressure on it by absorbing neighboring Belarus into its security sphere and militarizing Kaliningrad”, while China is waging a campaign of political retaliation and economic. However, the recent measures taken by the two regimes “have a wider significance, namely testing the US and EU commitments to their allies,” writes WSJ.
Vilnius calls for EU and US support
Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte spoke with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday about US support for Lithuania in response to economic pressure from China, Reuters reports.
China reduced diplomatic relations with Lithuania last month after opening a Taiwanese branch in Vilnius under its own name. Taiwan’s representative offices in countries with diplomatic relations with Beijing are commonly referred to as the “Taipei Representative Office” to avoid identifying Taiwan as a separate territory from China.
Chinese authorities have called on multinational companies to sever ties with Lithuania, otherwise they could be excluded from the Chinese market, and told Continental AG, the German manufacturer of tires and car parts, not to use parts made in Lithuania.
China claims that Taiwan, which is democratically governed, is its territory and has stepped up military and diplomatic pressure over the past two years to assert its claims to sovereignty, fueling Taipei’s discontent and Washington’s deep concern.
A statement from Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte’s office said: “The Prime Minister thanked the United States for its solidarity and support for Lithuania.” .
“It is important that countries with similar thinking and respect for international rules show solidarity in the face of economic pressure. We must continue to share information and coordinate our actions within the EU, with the United States and with democratic states in the Indo-European region. “Peaceful,” Simonyte said
Relations between China and the European Union have deteriorated this year after an investment deal was frozen amid mutual sanctions and Lithuania, an EU member, withdrew diplomats from Beijing during a dispute over Taiwan’s status.
The European Union is “in contact with the Chinese authorities to quickly clarify the situation” of Lithuanian exports, the blockade of which is being blamed on Beijing by Vilnius, in response to the opening of a Taiwanese diplomatic mission in the Baltic state in July.
“The EU has been informed that Lithuanian shipments are not being processed by Chinese customs and that import applications from Lithuania are being rejected (…) We are in contact with the Chinese authorities to quickly clarify the situation,” said EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis, and the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, in a joint statement.
“Unity and solidarity within the EU remain essential to defend our interests and values in our relations with all countries. The EU stands ready to oppose all forms of political pressure and coercive measures against any Member State,” they added.
“The evolution of China’s bilateral relations with each of the EU member states has an impact on EU relations as a whole and China. If the information received is confirmed, the EU will also assess the compatibility of China’s action with its obligations to the World Health Organization. Trade (WTO) “, the two senior European officials also stated.
Lithuania announced in early December that Beijing was blocking its exports to protest again against the opening of a Taiwanese diplomatic mission in Vilnius in July. Beijing objects to any official use of the word Taiwan, fearing that this would not contribute to the island’s international legitimacy, which China considers to be part of its territory.
China has already announced on November 25 that it will no longer issue visas to Lithuania, four days after reducing trade and diplomatic ties with the Baltic country.
The announcement in July of the opening of a Taiwanese delegation in Vilnius has launched a Chinese pressure campaign to isolate the autonomous democratic island on the international stage.
The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry has stated that it will try to obtain a European response to this situation.
Source: Breaking News – Cele mai importante stiri – Ziare.com by ziare.com.
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