Europe follows Lithuania’s lead on Taiwan

Chinese newspaper have been strangely quiet about Lithuania in recent days. There seems to have only been one instance of Lithuania’s having been mentioned in their English-language press:

Lithuania acts the most radical among European countries on the Taiwan question, and China has made firm counterattacks.

If Lithuania is supposed to be the chicken killed to scare the monkeys, it would appear that the monkeys are, if anything, less scared than before, because China is now complaining about other Europeans, particularly the European Parliament and the French government.

In The Global Times:

France has taken a provocative step forward on the Taiwan question.

The inaugural Australia-France Foreign and Defense (2+2) Ministerial Consultations were held on Monday. The two countries mentioned a series of China-related issues in their joint statement, including “serious concerns about the situation in the South China Sea” and “severe human rights abuses” in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Moreover, the two sides “underscored the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait” and even expressed their support for the island of Taiwan’s “meaningful participation” in international organizations…

France has previously made many provocative moves on the Taiwan question. For example, in May 2020, France dismissed Chinese warnings about selling arms to the island of Taiwan, saying it was implementing existing deals and China should focus on the COVID-19 fight. In March, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs said French senators are free to meet whoever they wish during a visit to the Taiwan island. The French Senate adopted a resolution in May to support Taiwan’s participation in international organizations.

Now, France and Australia have reached a statement concerning the island of Taiwan, proactively interfering in affairs in the Indo-Pacific region.

French President Emmanuel Macron proposed a “Paris-Delhi-Canberra axis” as early as in May 2018, a strategy he regards as a so-called key to the Indo-Pacific region.

But can France’s comprehensive strength support such a vision? This is a question that Macron must face.

China and the US have greater influence compared to France, and may offset France’s possible role in the region. As a major European power, France is trying to unite Australia, regarding the “Taiwan card” as a bargaining chip in its diplomacy. This is very unwise.

Lithuania acts the most radical among European countries on the Taiwan question, and China has made firm counterattacks. Although France may not act as radically, it may also try to beat around the bush on the Taiwan question.

Countries such as France and Australia should not misjudge the situation in island of Taiwan or underestimate Chinese mainland’s determination to punish their provocative acts at any time.

Meanwhile, as the Chinese government described it:

Despite China’s repeated objections, the European Parliament’s AFET adopted the so-called “EU-Taiwan Political Relations and Cooperation” report, blatantly advocating for elevating EU-Taiwan relations. These moves exceed far beyond the scope of normal nonofficial economic and trade cooperation and cultural exchanges between the EU, its member states and Taiwan

We urge the relevant Committee and relevant members of the European Parliament to appreciate the sensitivity of the Taiwan issue, immediately correct their wrong words and actions, and play a positive and constructive role in upholding the political foundation of China-EU relations.

And Europeans are slowly beginning to show their support for Lithuania, as reported by The Taipei Times:

Sixty-two European lawmakers from 20 countries on Friday sent a joint open letter to Lithuanian officials, backing the Baltic nation’s plan to deepen its ties with Taiwan. “We write to express our solidarity and our support for Lithuania against the threats, intimidation and bullying behavior targeted at the Lithuanian people by the government of the People’s Republic of China,” they wrote. “The Chinese government’s aggressive actions towards Lithuania are symptomatic of its broader refusal to abide by norms, values and standards of the international rules-based order,” the lawmakers added.

During a discussion on the EU’s relations with China at an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers on Friday, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabrielius Landsbergis said that the EU must adhere to its values and reduce dependence on trade with China.

The EU must also coordinate its China policy with like-minded countries in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond, as well as reinforce EU-NATO cooperation on China issues, Landsbergis said in a statement on the ministry’s Web site.

The longer China waits to demonstrate its ability to ‘make firm counterstrikes’, the weaker it is likely to appear. In previous weeks, China claimed that Russia and Belarus would help it punish Lithuania. If those two countries are helping China to punish Lithuania, Lithuania itself seems to be unaware of it.

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