The Chinese communist regime and Lithuania have been at odds since 2021. The regime apparently does not recognize Lithuania as an independent and democratic country, responsible for making its own decisions. In 2021, it removed some Lithuanian products from the list of authorized importers and in 2022, it went further, banning the entry of beef into China and delayed imports at Customs.
China’s pressure on Lithuania is also related to the European country’s proximity to Taiwan. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) demands that every country that wants to trade with the regime must abide by its rules, and one of them is the “one China” policy.
Any nation must steer clear of Taiwan if it does not want to be the target of CCP retaliation. The most recent example is Lithuania, which is seeking to finalize partnership agreements with the island nation.
China demanded that Lithuania put an end to any agreements and respect the “one China” principle. The Chinese foreign minister said Lithuania should “prudently manage” its ties with Taiwan and maintain a closeness with Beijing, after the Baltic country announced the opening of a new office in Taipei.
The agreements between Taiwan and Lithuania cover investments of nearly $30 million in business and industry, in addition to about $10 million contributed by the Taiwanese nation through its Central and Eastern European Investment Fund.
Taiwan Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said, “Taiwan and Lithuania are close partners opposing authoritarianism on the front lines, sharing not only the universal values of democracy and freedom, but also facing various challenges of post-pandemic recovery and the Russia-Ukraine war.”
She added, “With authoritarian countries using trade sanctions as a tool to threaten others … it would be useful for Taiwan and Lithuania to work together to find a new plan to achieve economic development and improve supply chain resilience in the democratic world.”
The agreements Lithuania and Taiwan have cover the semiconductor industry, electric cars, and laser project development, in addition to agreements on agricultural imports, fisheries, and the Baltic country’s dairy production.
The Chinese communist regime has launched threats against Lithuania and other countries that want to collaborate with Taiwan in the development of laser and semiconductor projects. the regime is concerned about losing important partners in Europe. The desperate race to achieve Chinese self-sufficiency by 2025, coupled with the international sanctions that the regime is piling up, the Taiwan and Baltic countries’ agreements are a latent danger to the Chinese semiconductor industry.
The latest U.S. trade sanctions prohibit any company in the world from selling electronic components and chips made with U.S. equipment to China. This will severely impede the development of advanced technological capabilities in the Chinese semiconductor industry.
Despite being in an increasingly unfavorable situation, the communist regime continues to defend its position at the cost of spoiling its ties with other countries if they do not follow its own rules regarding the “one China” policy and impose its own sanctions.
According to economic reports provided by Lithuania, Chinese sanctions have not had a major effect on its economy; in fact, partnerships with other countries have boosted growth.
Lithuania’s minister of Economy and Innovation said, “I have no doubt that with the opening of Lithuania’s trade representative office in Taipei, our work with this promising market will be further intensified.”
Lithuania’s exports to its top 10 trading partners in the Indo-Pacific region amounted to more than $676.48 million in January-August this year, and the exports were 60 percent higher than in the same period last year. Lithuanian exports to Taiwan amounted to $19.14 million.
Communist regime loses trade allies in Europe
Not only is Lithuania moving away from the Chinese communist regime and taking firm steps toward Taiwan, a democratic, free nation with traditional values more aligned to the West, but other nations are also following suit.
Estonia and Latvia left the Central and Eastern European Countries group last August, following in Lithuania’s footsteps. The group, made up of Central and Eastern European countries, was initiated by the Chinese regime in 2012, although its processes and mechanisms of operation are not clearly defined. Apparently, the Chinese initiative is a similar version of the Belt and Road Initiative adapted for this part of Europe.
This Chinese alliance is strategically aimed at weakening the European Union, since the various trade and infrastructure agreements are made directly between the countries of this group.
Baltic countries reach out to Taiwan
On October 27 a six-person delegation from Taiwan went Latvia and Lithuania. The purpose of the visit was to exchange ideas with education and technology officials from the two Baltic countries on “technology policy” and “key points for future cooperation.”
Lithuania and Taiwan’s National Sun Yat-sen University developed thin-disk laser technology, which has been called “the best in the world.” The CCP is far from achieving this kind of transparent collaborations with universities, and has instead woven an international network of undercover academic and scientific spies.
For Lithuania, turning away from communist China is also a moral issue. On a visit to Australia, Lithuania’s foreign minister said, “We need to remind countries like China or any other country that wants to use trade as a weapon that like-minded countries around the world … have tools and regulations that help resist coercion and not give in to … political and economic pressures.”