Lithuania is playing with fire by violating the one-China principle with regard to Taiwan. Lithuania recently announced its decision to allow the Taiwanese authorities to open a “representative office” under the name “Taiwan” in the country in 1991. This is a flagrant violation of the country’s promise to abide by the one-China principle that was given at Beijing. Vilnius established diplomatic relations in 1991.
As a heavy and resolute countermeasure, China on Tuesday announced the recall of its ambassador to Lithuania and called on the Lithuanian government to recall its ambassador to China. It takes no science to figure out Lithuania’s dangerous calculus: to show its loyalty to the United States, which is growing against China.
However, decision-makers in Vilnius should not expect a reward for their provocations. Instead, they will eventually atone for their cruelty. First, the Taiwan issue concerns China’s core interests, on which there is no room for compromise. Beijing’s dismissal of its ambassador is just a clear warning. If the Lithuanian government does not correct its mistakes, it will force China to take further action.
Second, crony Lithuanian politicians who want to cajole Washington should not assume that the United States will always support them. History is replete with examples of the United States abandoning its loyal servants when it saw the need to look after its own interests. It is not too late for Lithuanian politicians to make up for some lost history lessons.
Third, it is absurd for Lithuania to encourage other countries in the region to follow its foolish steps on the Taiwan issue. Lithuania got the bigger picture completely wrong. Most European countries have adhered to the one-China principle, as promised by China. And the foundation of mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Europe remains firmly established. A country like Lithuania cannot find meaningful support for its self-destructive measures.
For the Lithuanian government, the only correct and wise way forward is to reverse its wrong decision and remove the damage done to bilateral relations with China. If Lithuanian politicians remain ruthless and continue down the wrong path to harm China’s interests, China will not hesitate to take stronger countermeasures. In this case, the Lithuanian team will lose more than it wins.
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