China

Lithuanian MPs go further down the wrong path over Taiwan question

Photo taken on July 21, 2019 from Xiangshan Mountain shows the Taipei 101 skyscraper in Taipei, southeast China’s Taiwan. (Xinhua/Zhu Xiang)

Continuing going further down the wrong path of supporting the secessionist forces on the island of Taiwan, a Lithuanian parliamentarian delegation reportedly arrived on the island on Sunday morning to attend the “2021 Open Parliament Forum” to be held from December 2 to 3.

Chinese mainland experts warned that such extreme anti-China policies will only make Lithuania get isolated in the region, and their short-sighted move is doomed to reach a dead end. 

Led by Matas Maldeikis, head of a so-called Taiwan friendship group in the Lithuanian parliament, the delegation touched down at the Taoyuan airport on the island around 6:20 am on Sunday. The Lithuanian parliamentarian delegation will be joined by Janis Vucans and Juri Jaanson, members of parliament and chairs of “Taiwan friendship groups” in Latvia and Estonia, respectively, for the conference of “democracy,” Taiwan local media reported.

The forum is being held for the first time this year. “It is tailor-made for these three Baltic countries,” Zhang Wensheng, deputy dean of the Taiwan Research Institute at Xiamen University, told the Global Times on Sunday. “It’s a forum where the Taiwan authorities, under the banner of ‘democratic and liberal values,’ enlist some tiny countries to endorse the separatist policy of Taiwan secessionist forces.”

These anti-China politicians’ visit to the island of Taiwan was behind the sole goal of “asking for money,” observers noted. 

In an interview with Estonian public media outlet ERR News on Thursday, Estonian MP Jüri Jaanson, a member of the Taiwan visiting group, said that he “thinks the volume of mutual investment could increase.” 

These politicians from Latvia and Estonia are gambling with the interests of the people of their countries for their own possible political gain, experts said.

“MP-level visits do not represent official positions, nor will their people be willing to compromise their own interests for a little lip service from the US and the island of Taiwan,” Sun Keqin, a research fellow at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

These countries are likely to demand compensation from the Taiwan island for the loss of real benefits from a worsening relationship with China. Lithuania will not support the island for nothing, either by asking for money from the US or by asking the Taiwan authorities to bear their loss. They are just painting a “beautiful” skin on their ugly faces, Zhang noted.

Tsai Ing-wen, leader of the Taiwan island’s ruling secessionist Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), will meet with the group during their stay, media reported, with some netizens from the island sarcastically commenting that these anti-China politicians are “coming to claim the reward.”

Lithuanian politicians are now trying to expand their anti-China team by including more politicians in the region with similar stances to further provoke China over the Taiwan question, Sun said. 

“These opportunistic Latvian and Estonian politicians found that Lithuania indeed got some benefits from the US and they want to make use of the Taiwan question to profit more from both the island and the US. Unfortunately, the businesses and people of these three countries will only suffer losses,” Sun noted.

China has changed the name of its diplomatic mission in Lithuania to the Office of the Chargé d’Affaires and requested Lithuania to also change the name of its diplomatic mission in China, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Friday. This is a concrete step that China has made to downgrade its diplomatic ties with Lithuania after the Baltic country kept provoking China on the Taiwan question.

This has not stopped Lithuanian politicians from continuous daydreaming, as Lithuanian foreign minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said on Friday that “the official tone from Beijing is not very aggressive; one might have expected more escalation,” he told reporters. “Apparently, the reaction is temporary and some normalization will take place little by little.” 

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying replied to the absurd remark on Twitter on Sunday that Landsbergis was “wrong.” “Beijing will not stomach the provocation. And there will be consequences,” Hua explicitly warned.

Affected by the deterioration of China-Lithuania relations, Lithuanian businesses have complained that foreign policy changes by the ruling party are causing them to suffer and they find it difficult to make long-term decisions. Local experts also noted that Lithuania’s foreign policy is filled with “anger” and “hatred” as they suspect that the ruling coalition is sacrificing people’s real interests for politicians’ abstract values and it forces Lithuania to fight Russia, Belarus and China at the same time.

However, observers believe that Lithuania’s size and voice in Europe are way too limited and it is difficult to influence European public opinion. What’s more, other European countries do not share Lithuania’s views and will not easily and readily follow suit. 

It is worth mentioning that such a provocative move by Lithuanian politicians comes after five US lawmakers visited the island of Taiwan on an administrative plane used by the US military on Friday.

Spokesperson of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council Zhu Fenglian said after the visit was reported that China firmly opposes any form of official exchanges or military contacts between the US and China’s Taiwan region. The visit of some US lawmakers to the island seriously violates the one-China principle and the relevant provisions of the three China-US joint communiqués.


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