Over a year ago, Lithuania faced unprecedented pressure from China for refusing to toe Beijing’s line on the Taiwan issue. It took the lead in exiting the China-led “17+1” cooperation mechanism with Central and Eastern European countries in 2021 and later allowed Taiwan to open a representative office in Vilnius under the name “Taiwan.” In response, China launched a comprehensive retaliation, including applying economic sanctions, calling back its Ambassador, and downgrading diplomatic relations.
Recently, Matas Maldeikis, Lithuanian Member of Parliament, revealed in an interview with the Voice of America, that the swift and decisive victory the communist regime of China expected did not happen. Lithuania’s economy grew and its exports increased by 45 percent in just a year and a half after Beijing’s sanctions. This demonstrates that countries need not bow to pressure from Beijing.
Maldeikis mentioned Lithuania’s historical tradition of resistance to power and its people’s values as reasons for daring to confront China on the Taiwan issue. Lithuania understood the political dynamics at play and refused to compromise its principles for short-term economic gains, showing a willingness to withstand market pressure and not betray values for profit.
This resilient stance has set an example for other nations on how to navigate relations with China.
Source: Voice of America, August 7, 2023