Last week, the Chinese government slammed Lithuania for extending trade relations with Taiwan in defiance of the so-called “One China Policy,” and warned that Lithuania’s actions could land the country in “the trashcan of history.”
In a Dec. 20 press conference, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lijian Zhao said Lithuania’s trade relations with Taiwan lend to the impression that Taiwan is an independent entity from China.
China’s denouncements came after the Lithuanian government decided in August to allow Taiwan to open a representative office in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, Business Insider reported. In a question posed to Zhao, the Hubei Media Group reported Lithuanian manufacturers will attend the Food Taipei exhibition and Lithuanian Agriculture Minister Kęstutis Navickas also plans to lead a business delegation to Taiwan.
“Lithuania openly created the false impression of ‘one China, one Taiwan’ in the world, renounced the political commitment it made in the communiqué on the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Lithuania, and violated the one-China principle, a basic norm governing international relations and consensus of the international community,” Zhao said.
Zhao said Lithuania’s actions should be “disdained and rejected.”
“Lithuania broke faith and stood on the opposite side of what is right and just,” Zhao continued. “Nothing good will come out of this. If certain people or forces in Lithuania insist on colluding with ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces and going further down the dark path, they will eventually end up in the trashcan of history.”
Following Zhao’s Dec. 20 remarks, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted reports of People’s Republic of China (PRC) customs officials had begun refusing to clear Lithuanian shipments or shipments with Lithuanian components and rejecting import applications from Lithuania. In a phone call with Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte, Blinken said China’s alleged actions “raise serious concerns, including under international trade principles, and appear to constitute a form of economic coercion.”
During a Dec. 22 press briefing, Zhao said “the Lithuanian side bears the sole responsibility for the severe difficulties in China-Lithuania relations” but denied that Chinese officials have been interfering with Lithuanian shipments or rejecting Lithuanian import applications.
During his Dec. 22 remarks, Zhao also said, “Lithuania has made grave mistakes on Taiwan-related issues. Instead of admitting and addressing its mistakes, it has been making up lies to shirk responsibilities and distort facts.”
Zhao said the U.S. and European Union should “urge Lithuania to immediately admit and address its mistakes.” Zhao said U.S. and E.U. concerns about Chinese coercion against Lithuania “groundlessly further mixes right with wrong, transgresses justice and hurts the images of the U.S. and the E.U.”
Zhao also suggested Lithuania’s actions towards Taiwan may be part of an effort to win favor with the U.S. He said Lithuania “should not dance to the U.S.’ tune, and stand on the wrong side of justice.”