Exclusive: ‘We are Small But We Are Tough’ Lithuania Will Not Back Down After China Hints at War, Says MP

Participants of nationalist organizations hold the national flag during a rally in Vilnius on March 11, 2009. Lithuania marked its Independence Restoration day on Wednesday. Lithuania, which emerged as a state in the 13th century, was the largest country in Europe in the 14th century. The Grand Duchy of Lithuania …
PETRAS MALUKAS/AFP via Getty Images

“We are small but we are tough,” a Lithuanian MP has told Breitbart News after Communist China recalled its ambassador from the country and Chinese state media has hinted that the opening of defacto Taiwanese embassy last month could lead to war.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) recalled its ambassador to Lithuania on Tuesday in response to the NATO nation opened a Taiwanese Representative Office in the capital city of Vilnius in July. The fact that Lithuania used the term Taiwan as opposed to ‘Chinese Taipei’ angered the authoritarian regime in Beijing.

The Foreign Ministry of the People’s Republic of China accused Lithuania of “brazenly” violating the ‘One China’ policy which demands that other countries ignore that Taiwan is an independent and self-governing country, as the communist country still maintains that the island nation is owned by the Chinese Communist Party.

The CCP thus recalled its envoy to Lithuania, Shen Zhifei and demanded that the European Union nation recall its ambassador to China, Diana Mickevičienė.

China was also likely angered by Lithuania’s decision in May to withdraw from the 17+1 group of Eastern European nations, which sought to increase Chinese Belt and Road infrastructure spending in the former Soviet bloc.

The director of the Centre for European Studies at Renmin University of China, Wang Yiwei said that the move to recall the ambassador from Lithuania was a shot across the bow to other EU Nations.

“This is also to tell other [Central and Eastern European] countries that they will not be able to get [economic] benefits if they challenge China’s bottom line,” Wang told the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post.

Wang went on to warn that “the next step will be to cut ties if Lithuania is to go further and establish diplomatic relations with Taiwan.”

In an article from the state-run Global Times, the Chinese went on to say that “China and Russia can cooperate to punish Lithuania”.

“China will not allow Lithuania to become an example for other countries to follow. Some European countries must not think about using the Taiwan question as leverage against China. The Taiwan question cannot be used as a bargaining chip. It is a high voltage line, even a watershed between peace and war,” the Communist Party mouthpiece threatened.

In an exclusive interview with Breitbart London, Lithuanian MP Dovilė Šakalienė said that her country “does not respond well to threats… we’ve been used to threats for more than half a century (under Soviet Rule).”

“We are small but we are tough and we will make our own decisions on who we partner with,” she said.

“We are not changing our decision, we are still very happy that we are opening the Taiwanese Representative Office in Vilnius and we are hoping to have an even closer relationship in terms of trade, technologies, culture, health and other areas with Taiwan,” the Lithuanian co-chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China added.

“We are not trying to escalate any conflict but we will calmly stay the course,” she said.

Šakalienė, who was sanctioned earlier in March by the CCP for crafting legislation calling out the “genocide” being committed in Xinjiang, told Breitbart London: “Our connection with Taiwan has several dimensions.

“The most important is that geopolitically it is very important for us to maintain relations with democratic countries which are respecting human rights and not committing genocide, as China is committing against the Uyghurs.”

The Lithuanian MP said that the connection between her country and Taiwan is also bolstered by the fact that both countries have experienced the horrors of communism and that the two countries are currently bordered by “bloody authoritarian regimes”.

On Tuesday, Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of the Global Times, warned that “Lithuania will eventually pay the price for its evil deed of breaking international rules.”

The top propagandist said that Lithuania’s diplomatic ties with Taiwan were a result of the “small country” being reliant on the United States for protection.

“Lithuania is a crazy, tiny country full of geopolitical fears. It is extremely afraid that if one day something significant happens, it will be destroyed again. And for Lithuania, the way to get rid of its fear is to do silly things over and over again, to show its “fearlessness,” and to attack whomever the US hates,” Hu wrote.

Šakalienė said that the accusations from Beijing that Lithuania was acting at the behest of the United States are a perfect illustration of how authoritarian regimes think.

“They reveal themselves. When China says Lithuania does something as a puppet of America, it shows that they are incapable of understanding the concept of independent states and of strategic partnerships… for them, it is probably difficult to understand that Lithuania is independent.

“We fought very hard to gain our independence, we are very proud that we broke down the Soviet Union and that occupation of half a century did not change our identity.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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