Lithuania pushes itself into isolation by being a 'chess piece' over US' Taiwan card: experts
Published: Aug 21, 2021 04:07 PM
View of Vilnius, capital of Lithuania Photo: VCG

View of Vilnius, capital of Lithuania Photo: VCG

Direct rail links between China and Lithuania may be suspended, said Yuyuan Tantian, a social media account affiliated with state broadcaster CCTV on Saturday, citing an authority figure.

Experts warn that as Lithuania has recently tried hard to show its position in siding with the US by persistently provoking China over the Taiwan question, it will push the small Baltic country into further isolation and result in it eventually losing its advantage as a European transport hub.

 "This could happen because Lithuania is replaceable. Alternatively, China can export goods to Europe by transporting them through Russia and Poland," Zhang Hong, an Eastern European studies expert from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Saturday.

"There is an old Chinese saying that goes, 'Harmony brings wealth.' International economic and trade cooperation is also based on sincerity and mutual respect, thus Lithuania's incorrect foreign policy approach will make it lose a promising trade partner, becoming more isolated," Zhang said, noting that Belarus has suspended oil ship transport through Lithuania.

The Baltic country has always had a national strategy of building itself into a regional transport hub and international logistics transfer center, with Klaipeda port alone providing over 58,000 jobs for the country and contributing to 6.13 percent of its GDP, according to the Yuyuan Tantian report.

China-EU rail freight plays an important role for the hub. Although international freight was battered last year amid the pandemic, Lithuania became the new postal hub of Europe, seeing a record of 33 full postal trains between the end of 2019 and July 2020.

However, Lithuania escalated its own sabotage over its sound economic and trade cooperation with China by recently allowing Taiwan separatist authorities to open a "representative office" under the name of "Taiwan," a move provoking the one-China principle. China has decided to recall its ambassador to Lithuania and demanded the country recall its top envoy from China.

"The small European country will be hoisted by its own petard by acting as a 'chess piece' of the US strategy against China once the latter cuts trade exchanges with the Baltic country," Wang Yiwei, director of the Institute of International Affairs at Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times on Saturday.

"The buffoon miscalculated China's economic influence by overestimating itself in a desperate bid to gain more benefits. Lithuania is sacrificing its national interests by cooperating with the unreliable US," Wang said.

Bilateral trade between China and Lithuania grew by 16.9 percent year-on-year in the first half of the year, which is commendable given the impact of COVID-19. Moreover, Chinese customs in March just approved 20 Lithuanian milk companies for registration in China.

China's Ministry of Commerce on Thursday urged the Lithuanian government to immediately correct its wrong decision, take concrete measures, take action to improve the well-being of the two peoples, and create favorable conditions for economic and trade cooperation between the two countries.