The tiny country of Lithuania, with only three million people, is standing up to the communist colossus China, a country of 1.4 billion people, by permitting the opening of a Taiwanese Representative Office in Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital, triggering China to try to bully Lithuania into submission, sending Lithuania’s ambassador home, recalling China’s own ambassador and minimizing 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,” The Wall Street Journal noted, then pointed out that Australia wanted an international investigation into the origins of Covid-19, and didn’t blink when China launched a trade war against Australia.
“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,” The Journal added.
The Chinese state-run newspaper Global Times reported that Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian threatened that Lithuania would wind 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.
Ripping the EU for its obeisance to China, Italian journalist Giulio Meotti wrote.“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.”
U.S. National Security Council Indo-Pacific affairs advisor Kurt Campbell acknowledged the Aussies’ courageous stand vis-à-vis China, “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,” USAsia Centre research director Jeffrey Wilson echoed, 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.”
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