China’s necessary response to Lithuania’s erroneous acts on Taiwan question ‘legitimate, reasonable and lawful’: FM
Published: Aug 19, 2022 10:51 PM
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin Photo:

The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin Photo:

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Friday that China's necessary response to Lithuania's erroneous acts over the Taiwan question is totally legitimate, reasonable and lawful, and it urged Lithuania to stop chipping away the political foundation of China-Lithuania relations, in response to Lithuania's latest move of summoning a Chinese diplomat in Vilnius to protest Beijing's sanctions against the Baltic country's Deputy Transport Minister Agnė Vaiciukevičiūtė, whose unsanctioned visit to Taiwan island violated the one-China principle.

Lithuania crafted a publicity stunt on Thursday. According to local media, Lithuanian foreign ministry on Thursday summoned China's charge d'affaires Qu Baihua in Vilnius, and demanded that China revoke the sanctions.

China's Foreign Ministry on August 12 announced it would sanction Vaiciukevičiūtė, who visited the Taiwan region and violated the one-China principle, making her the first official punished after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

China also announced the suspension of cooperation with Lithuania in the field of transportation.

"Senior Lithuanian officials made a provocative visit to China's Taiwan region. This clearly violates Lithuania's political commitment to upholding the one-China principle, the common understanding of the international community and basic norms in international relations," Wang said. 

"We urge the Lithuanian side to tell right from wrong, immediately redress its mistakes and stop chipping away the political foundation of China-Lithuania relations," Wang said. 

Experts said the reason for the deterioration of bilateral relations is that Lithuania cooperated with the US in hyping the Taiwan question to undermine China's sovereignty. If Lithuania insists on going the wrong way, relations between the two countries may further deteriorate.

View of Vilnius, capital of Lithuania Photo: VCG

View of Vilnius, capital of Lithuania Photo: VCG

Lithuanian officials did not stop claiming that the country is "free to choose whatever partners it wants," according to local media LRT. The media outlet also highlighted that before the case of Vaiciukevičiūtė, Beijing did not impose sanctions on two Lithuanian government officials after their Taiwan visits.

Ironically, one day before summoning the Chinese diplomat, Lithuania defiantly announced the appointment of Paulius Lukauskas, an adviser to Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte, to lead the new "Lithuanian Trade Representative Office in Taipei," which is expected to begin operations next month. In November 2021, the setting up of a "Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania" triggered a diplomatic downgrade between China and Lithuania.

Lithuanian politicians have tried to satisfy their selfish interests by damaging Chinese sovereignty, which is grotesque and shameless blackmail, a Beijing-based international affairs expert told the Global Times on condition of anonymity. 

Lithuanian politicians are doing what the US wants them to, and it shows that Lithuania is a country that lacks real independence and autonomy, the expert said. "They will eventually become victims of their own actions."

Cui Hongjian, director of the Department of European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times on Friday that China's sanctions on Lithuania are accurate countermeasures that it fully deserves. 

"China is actually building a countermeasures framework while it does not stop interacting with Lithuania," Cui said. "It means that if Lithuania takes any step out of line in any form, China will have corresponding countermeasures on the list. The rules are not just for Lithuania, but may also affect politicians from other nations that might follow Vilnius to provoke China's core interests."

Lithuanians quibbled that their definition of the one-China policy is different from the one-China principle. However, the Taiwan question is a case of China's internal affairs, and no country's internal affairs should allowed to be defined or randomly interpreted by other countries, Cui said. 

Experts said that Lithuania's risky provocations are linked to the international geopolitical situation, which is becoming increasingly complex and chaotic and gives an opportunity for a small country like Lithuania to take political risks.

With a gambler's mentality, Lithuanian politicians, hoping to take advantage of the great power game, bet their country's fate on the US side, Cui said.

Lithuania needs to figure out whether a bad relationship with China is in its own national interests, or in the personal interests of some politicians, Cui said.

"It is Lithuania that is responsible for the deterioration of bilateral relations. If Lithuania does not pull back from the precipice, bilateral ties will surely be further damaged," the Beijing-based expert said. "Relations between the two countries may deteriorate to any extent, if Lithuania insists on going the wrong way."