Biz Quick Take: EU should not fall into the US’ trap over Lithuania issue
Published: Jan 10, 2022 09:33 PM
Illustration: Tang Tengfei/GT

Illustration: Tang Tengfei/GT

The US is stepping up efforts to tie the EU to its anti-China chariot after EU member Lithuania fell victim to the US' global campaign to push countries to use the Taiwan question to confront China. 

Following a call with Lithuania's foreign minister last week, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai called EU Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis on Friday, asking the EU to work with member states on what she called "China economic coercion."

In response to the US' absurd accusation, a spokesperson from China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday it is the US that has been using a coercive approach against other countries and the false accusation is built solely on hypocritical bullying rhetoric.

It's plain to see that Lithuania is paying a price for its unwise and extreme moves to challenge the one-China principle to provoke Beijing on the Taiwan question. If Lithuania continues to escalate its provocation against China in a dangerous direction, it will find out that the US commitment is nothing more than lip service.

Lithuania can't expect the EU to pay for its mistakes either. Faced with self-inflicted economic woes and complaints from domestic business community, the Lithuanian government turned to the EU for help in late December. The US has also asked the EU to support Lithuania. How can the EU not to see the political trap set by the US?

Under pressure from the US government, China-EU relations have indeed went through some ups and downs in 2021, mainly because of Europe's arbitrary sanctions. Yet, China and the EU still made progress in economic and trade last year. China has replaced the US as the EU's largest trading partner. 

The US' political calculation is to use Lithuania to drive a wedge between the EU and China, undercutting EU companies' competitiveness and business plans in the Chinese market, to the benefit of US businesses in the same market.

Australia knows firsthand what that looks like. With Australia's lost market share in China being swallowed up by the US, it is believed that the EU will learn a lesson and act cautiously when it comes to the US' pressure on the Lithuania issue.

In the case of Lithuania, the Baltic nation should take immediate moves to address its self-destructing policy toward China to repair bilateral ties. It's delusional to continue to hope that kidnapping the EU to pay for its mistakes is a viable strategy.