Lithuania to face ‘costly price’ for shadowing US with risky Taiwan visit following Pelosi’s provocation
Published: Aug 08, 2022 10:55 PM
Gambling on crumbs from the US' table Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Gambling on crumbs from the US' table Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's provocative visit to Taiwan and disregard of the international community's harsh criticism of her irresponsible move and China's unprecedented large-scale military drill across the Straits, Lithuania sent a delegation of 11 officials to the island on Sunday. Experts warned that any attempt by the Lithuanian side to trample on the one-China principle could result in severe consequences, including Beijing's severing of diplomatic ties with the country.

Lithuanian Deputy Transport and Communications Minister Agne Vaiciukevičiūtė, leading an 11-member delegation, arrived in the island for a five-day visit on Sunday, the Taiwan external affairs department said in an update on Twitter. 

The delegation is set to visit local transportation agencies and electric bus manufacturers to explore collaboration in smart and green transportation industries, as well as "demonstrate the solidarity between two democratic allies," according to a statement by the office, media reported on Saturday.

It is the third in a series of deputy-ministerial visits to Taiwan by the Baltic state, after visits by Lithuania's Vice Minister of Economy and Innovation Jovita Neliupšienė on June 20, and  Vice Minister of Agriculture Egidijus Giedraitis on June 22.

Experts noted that Lithuania's decision to visit the island at such a tense time is a vicious and obvious provocation, and China should step up its response to it. 

"We should pay close attention to what the Lithuanian delegation has come for. If it is to play with fire on the one-China principle, then the dangerous act will come at great cost. In the context of already downgraded bilateral relations, China could even consider severing diplomatic ties," Liu Zuokui, a research fellow on European studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), told the Global Times on Monday.

Lithuania and the US are using each other over the Taiwan question, Cui Hongjian, director of the Department of European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times on Monday.

"Lithuania believes Pelosi's visit to Taiwan showed the US' attitude and regarded it as encouragement, which it should closely follow to show its coordination, loyalty and support to the US in order to gain more support from it. 

One day after Pelosi's arrival in Taipei, Lithuania's foreign minister praised the trip, saying she "has opened the door to Taiwan much wider," Lithuanian National Radio and Television LRT reported. 

While some in the West hyped up Pelosi's visit, saying it would prompt more countries to do the same and further challenge China's bottom line, observers expressed confidence in China's slew of countermeasures, both diplomatically and militarily, which have effectively deterred such dangerous thoughts.

More than 170 countries around the world have expressed their commitment to the one-China principle and support for China's efforts to uphold its sovereignty. This is an overwhelming advantage compared to the US side and its few supporters, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at Monday's press briefing.

It is also worth noting that Lithuania is planning to inaugurate its trade office in Taipei on September 12, citing Lithuanian Vice Minister of the Economy and Innovation Jovita Neliupsiene, Taipei Times reported in July. The trade office is part of a deal signed last July, under which both sides agreed to "open reciprocal de facto embassies in each other's capitals," the report said. 

Experts noted that as Lithuania does not have many economic interests on the island, they are making the trip in an attempt to court and please its big brother the US.