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The China-Lithuania Rift Is a Wake-Up Call for Europe

2 148 44
23.09.2021

Lithuania has joined the growing list of countries around the globe that have been subject to Chinese coercion. It’s time for the trans-Atlantic partners to respond with a policy akin to NATO’s Article 5 common defense commitment. Call it “coercion against one is coercion against all.”

China has put NATO ally Lithuania in the crosshairs over that nation’s relationship with Taiwan and its challenge to China’s efforts to gain a political foothold in Central and Eastern Europe.

Lithuania’s challenge to China is twofold. First, the Baltic country authorized Taiwan to open a representative office in Vilnius, to be called the Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania, and then announced plans to open a reciprocal office in Taipei by the end of the year. China objects to the use of the word “Taiwanese” in the name of the office in Lithuania.

Lithuania has joined the growing list of countries around the globe that have been subject to Chinese coercion. It’s time for the trans-Atlantic partners to respond with a policy akin to NATO’s Article 5 common defense commitment. Call it “coercion against one is coercion against all.”

China has put NATO ally Lithuania in the crosshairs over that nation’s relationship with Taiwan and its challenge to China’s efforts to gain a political foothold in Central and Eastern Europe.

Lithuania’s challenge to China is twofold. First, the Baltic country authorized Taiwan to open a representative office in Vilnius, to be called the Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania, and then announced plans to open a reciprocal office in Taipei by the end of the year. China objects to the use of the word “Taiwanese” in the name of the office in Lithuania.

But such usage does not contradict the “One China” policy that Europe and the United States follow. Neither office is an embassy, nor does opening the offices imply recognition of Taiwan as a sovereign state. The United States has a similar “American Institute in Taiwan,” which is a U.S. government-sponsored private entity that is staffed by State Department officials and carries out diplomatic functions. Many other nations have similar arrangements.

Lithuania’s second challenge to China was to withdraw this year from the........

© Foreign Policy


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