November 24, 2021 - 5:51 am

China Downgrades Diplomatic Ties With Lithuania 

China decided to downgrade its diplomatic relations with Lithuania to the level of chargé d' affaires as a solemn protest against the Baltic State's collision with the secessionist authority on the island of Taiwan and blatant violations of the one-China principle and international rules. China views self-ruled and democratically governed Taiwan as its territory with no right to the trappings of a state that has stepped up pressure on countries to downgrade or severe their relations with the island, even non-official ones.

                                 Beijing's latest reactions towards Lithuania comes amid a broader trend of warming relations between Central and eastern European countries and Taiwan. Vilnius has taken an increasingly assertive stand towards China in recent months. The government has pulled out of the 17 + 1 group established by Beijing. The decision came after the island of Taiwan opened its so-called representative office in  Lithuania which has sparked strong opposition and protest from the Chinese government. Experts on diplomatic relations said the latest move signals a series setback in China-Lithuania ties and reflects China's resolute dermination to "make the tiny country feel pain." They warned that if Lithuania continues to grow its own way, the possibility of completely cutting off diplomatic ties cannot be ruled out.

                                 Lithuania's move reflects growing interest among government in expanding ties with Taiwan, a major trader and Centre for high-tech industry, at a time when Beijing has irritated its neighbours and Western governments with an increasingly assertive foreign and military policy. The decision, coming ahead of the US-initiated "democracy summit," was also hailed as a timely, appropriate measure as Lithuania is still "ridiculous in being a running dog for US.

                                 Following the downgrade, analysts predicted that direct information consultation and political exchanges between the two countries will come to a standstill. Investment and trade including agricultural products inspection and quarantine, will be severely affected by some people exchange programs will be aborted. In addition, on issues related to Lithuania's own interests in the Asia-Pacific and other multilateral occasions, the decline of political mutual trust between the two sides will make it difficult for Lithuania to get support from China.