OPINION / OBSERVER
Self-contradicting Lithuanian politicians put political party gains before national interests
Published: Jul 04, 2021 09:23 PM
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis file photo:VCG

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis file photo:VCG


After the current government of Lithuania started work in December 2020, it has been finding faults with China, turning itself into the vanguard among European countries catering to US' anti-China campaign.

According to Politico, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said on Friday that the Franco-German dominance of EU-China relations should end and be replaced with a "united format." He said this kind of Franco-German lead should be avoided in future, and again urged the other EU members in the "16+1" grouping to follow Lithuania and leave. 

On Thursday, Landsbergis announced the government will set up representative offices in Southeast Asia and East Asia, including in the island of Taiwan, explaining the move was aimed to enable Lithuania to avoid being subject to political pressure from the Chinese mainland by becoming over-reliant on its economy.

"These remarks are totally self-contradictory and logically confusing," Wang Yiwei, director of the institute of international affairs at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

"Lithuania has said that the reason for quitting the 17+1 cooperation mechanism is that the format has not brought expected benefits to it. Now it is blaming China for not giving enough to it on the one hand, while saying it is too dependent on China on the other. This is nothing but pure hype by politicians to show the existence of this small country," Wang noted. 

The Lithuanian National Radio and Television published an article in April saying that "Lithuania hopes that its firm stance against the Chinese regime will be noticed in Washington." 

It is clear that Lithuania takes its so-called "firm stance" on China as a proof of allegiance to gain the favor of the US, so as to take a ride on the US' anti-China chariot and profit from it.

By suggesting that the Franco-German dominance of EU-China relations should end, what Lithuania has proposed will inevitably weaken the influence of France and Germany within the European Union. Given the already obvious differences among EU members, if the lead of France and Germany is more shattered, the bloc's divergences will only further escalate. As a result, European integration will be affected - and eventually EU members' interests will be harmed while the US, which wants to use the EU as a tool to counter China, will gain. 

By planning to set up a representative office in the island of Taiwan, Lithuania is perverting its foreign policy. Such a move is a naïve provocation, a deluded as well as an irresponsible move to place national interests for political party gains. By no means can Lithuania gain respect by showing this so-called "stance." Because it has set a very bad example for European countries with its moves to bluntly break the promises it made when establishing diplomatic ties with China. 

Perfidious deeds bring disdain, not respect. Meanwhile, a clumsy political show will turn out to be negative asset rather than bringing the political capital Vilnius's politicians hope for.

Take North Macedonia, another small country in Europe, which was once lured by Taiwan island authorities to establish official relations with the latter in 1999. The move, which was hidden from then Macedonian president Kiro Gligorov, was widely criticized. Only two and a half years later, North Macedonia resumed diplomatic ties with Beijing and reiterated acknowledgement of the one-China principle. During this short side story of China-North Macedonia relations, the latter gained far less than it was promised by Taiwan island authorities. Besides, this European country marks the anniversary of its diplomatic ties with China from 1993, the year when they established such relations.

By imitating Macedonia, Lithuania wants to gain the praise of the US. However, the island of Taiwan cannot give Lithuania what it wants, while Washington's praise is less than an illusion. The US can stab its allies in the back anytime to secure its own interests. This is what a small country like Lithuania can never afford. Not to mention the possible countermeasures taken by China. 

Blindly and recklessly following the US' policy is very dangerous and will only bring great losses to Lithuania's national interests.


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