Lithuania – a country tucked in the Baltic region of Europe, lying on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea is the leader of a global anti-China campaign. Lithuania is an ally of Taiwan. It hates the Chinese Communist Party and is working day in and day out to decouple from China. The Communist nation has, with an eye of exacting revenge, been trying to hurt Lithuania. But all its attacks are blunted by Lithuania, which is driven by a desire to undo the European Union’s ties with China. To that end, Taiwan has now stepped in and committed itself completely to Lithuania.
Taiwan has indicated that it will assist Lithuania in shifting its market away from China and expanding its supply chain security with democratic allies. In October last year, Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry sent an economic and trade team to Lithuania and inked six memorandums of understanding (MOU) while at it. According to Taiwan News, Taiwan also assisted Lithuanian enterprises in participating in this year’s Food Taipei expo.
Recently, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokesperson Joanne Ou was quoted as saying, “We firmly believe that Taiwan, Lithuania, and all those who support the relationship between the two countries are on the right side of history and that democracy will prevail.”
Lithuania does not have Taiwan alone to count on. In fact, the U.S., UK, France and Germany have all stressed their support for Lithuania as it faces China’s threats. According to Taiwan News, the four countries said they would stand with Lithuania, which has faced coercion from China in several ways after strengthening ties with Taiwan.
Taiwan Begins Helping Lithuania
What better way to begin a partnership than by raising a toast? That is precisely what Taiwan has done. A Taiwanese company purchased 20,400 bottles of Lithuanian rum that China refused to allow into the country to show support for the Baltic nation amid diplomatic tensions.
According to the South China Morning Post, Taiwan’s State-owned Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corp. said it bought the alcohol from MV Group Production last month after learning that Chinese customs was denying permission for it to be imported. In a statement, the Taiwanese company said, “TTL stood up at the right time, purchased the rum and brought it to Taiwan. Lithuania supports us and we support Lithuania – TTL calls for a toast to that.”
Separately, the Lithuanian government is itself considering an aid package worth 130 million euros ($147m) to support businesses impacted by the Baltic country’s spat with China. According to Bloomberg, an initial 6 million euros has been allocated to companies from the European Regional Development Fund due to “the geopolitical tensions and the problems businesses are facing in China today, especially exporting businesses.”
Taiwan Kills China’s Vibe
Taiwan has been hitting China, where it hurts the most. China thought it could use its economic power against Lithuania. But by helping Lithuania tide over the impact of its decoupling from China, Taiwan has proven to be a true friend of the European country. It must be remembered that Taiwan has itself stood up to repeated bouts of Chinese economic coercion.
Whether it be China’s ban on Taiwanese pineapples or the various blockades which Beijing attempted to get placed on Taipei – they all failed. As a consequence of it all, it emerged as a resilient power that has the potential of teaching the world how to decouple from China and suffer no injuries while at it. Lithuania is Taiwan’s first client, and Xi Jinping is seething with rage at his grand failure on yet another front.
Lithuania itself has done a lot to enrage China. The best part is, it did nothing unconsciously. Lithuania always knew what the consequences would be. Yet, it took the fight with China head-on. It practically banned Chinese handsets from being sold in its territory, while allowing Taiwan to open a de facto embassy in its capital. Now, Taiwan and Lithuania are taking the next big step, and Beijing does not know how to react anymore.