Lithuania’s call for more unity on China has little impact on EU-China collaboration mechanism: experts
Published: Jul 05, 2021 12:26 AM
View of Vilnius, capital of Lithuania Photo: VCG

View of Vilnius, capital of Lithuania Photo: VCG

The European Union (EU)'s general cooperative attitude toward China will not be affected by Lithuania's disharmonious voices of urging more EU unity on China, who it depicted as an "unfair competitor" and a "systemic rival," as the country's sly intention to please the US and its little share in the whole EU-China cooperation cannot shake the foundation of the collaborative mechanism, Chinese experts said on Sunday. 

The Lithuanian foreign minister Gabrielius Landsbergis suggested in a Politico report on Friday that the Franco-German lead of EU-China relations should be replaced with a "united format" on China, one day after the Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda called on European Council to organize a summit with Chinese leaders that involves all 27 EU leaders this year, according to the report. 

"Regrettably, in recent years China has become less of a cooperating partner and more of an unfair competitor and a systemic rival," the report quoted Nausėda as saying. 

Experts said that Lithuania's latest move in challenging China will have little impact on the EU's general strategy toward China, but will only ignite fire on itself.

With pressure from a decline in power and an economic slowdown, the member states of the EU are facing divergences and differences on many affairs, but the union's strategic plan on China will be mainly made by the majority of EU members who are in close economic partnership with China, rather than Lithuania, whose share in EU-China economic cooperation is negligible, said Zhao Junjie, a research fellow at the Institute of European Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. 

According to China's Ministry of Commerce, China's trade with Lithuania was recorded at just $1.35 billion in 2019. As of the end of 2019, China is in 22nd place as its export market, and 10th as its source of imports.

Such action by Lithuania to provide an opposing voice among EU members is aimed at "making its own moment" on the European stage and once again proves it is just a pawn of the US on the anti-China frontline by "doing what the US likes to see," Zhao told the Global Times on Sunday. 

Lithuania has made a series of provocative moves toward China recently. The country in the Baltic region with a population of less than three million announced plans to set up representative offices in the island of Taiwan on Thursday, saying 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.

It had already quit the 17+1 cooperation mechanism between China and Central and Eastern Europe Countries (China-CEECs) in May. 

"In light of the loose connection with China, Lithuania is more emboldened to pick on China and therefore please the US. After all, the US is who it relies on most in its national security and political agenda," Zhao said.

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