The Chinese embassy in Lithuania has temporarily suspended consular services “for technical reasons.” This comes as relations between Beijing and Vilnius continues to breakdown as the latter prioritizes appeasing Washington and Brussels instead of its own national interests.
“Due to technical reasons, the provision of consular services by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Lithuania has been suspended from November 25, 2021. The time of resumption of work will be announced separately,” the embassy said in a statement.
Relations between China and Lithuania have deteriorated sharply in recent months. This happened after the opening of a Taiwanese representative office in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs protested against Lithuania and stated that it was reducing the level of diplomatic relations with Vilnius.
Beijing has stated that Lithuania’s actions violate the sovereignty of China and sets a dangerous precedent. Beijing saw Lithuania’s move as undermining its sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as interference in its internal affairs. For this reason, Beijing has repeatedly warned Lithuania of attempts to achieve a breakthrough on the Taiwan issue.
Despite Lithuanian politicians and experts warning the government of the repercussions of such a hostile policy against Beijing, Vilnius has insisted on this path of provocation.
It is recalled that the only and officially recognized authority over China is Beijing and not the figures in the de facto Taiwanese capital of Taipei. Taipei remains an unrecognized authority over China with the exception of only 14 UN members at the diplomatic level. But even accounting for the 14 UN members that recognize Taipei’s authority, they are all minnow countries that wield no influence on the global stage, such as Haiti, Belize, Palau and Tuvalu.
Although Lithuania is not one of the 14 UN member states to recognize Taipei as the sole authority for all of China, including the mainland, it is beginning to behave as if it is one of them. In fact, the current breakdown in Beijing-Vilnius relations is only because of Lithuania’s desire to serve Washington’s and Brussels’ interests rather than its own. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis revealed this fact by telling the Washington Post that his country has not yet decided on a boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games but intends to coordinate any actions in this regard with the US and European Union.
According to the Minister, there has been no discussion on this topic yet. At the same time, he doubted that Beijing would want to accept Lithuania at the Olympic Games anyway.
“To be honest, I don’t see diplomats and officials lined up, eager to go,” he said. “I don’t think Beijing is eager to accept us at this point, as well.”
However, Landsbergis escalated his ridiculous claims to the Washington Post by complaining that China is now exerting significant economic pressure on his country.
“It is quite nasty because it’s not as if China is basing their decisions on international rules where, you know, you announce sanctions, you announce the reasoning… Now, it’s all unannounced,” he said.
Dozens of members of Lithuania’s ruling coalition, in which Landsbergis belongs to, called on politicians, the National Olympic Committee and athletes to boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics. According to them, prestigious sporting events cannot take place in “authoritarian states where human rights are not respected.”
As Lithuania’s ruling government applies pressure for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to be boycotted whilst simultaneously upgrading its diplomatic relations with Taipei, Landsbergis also has the audacity to complain that China is retaliating. He highlighted that “almost every few days, we would receive a new company that comes up and says: ‘Okay, we’re no longer doing business in China. We either cannot import something, we cannot export, our contracts being terminated or nobody’s answering emails.’”
Landsbergis not only complains that China is retaliating, but also evidently has no self-awareness of the consequences of his country’s actions by saying “we do not consider ourselves to blame for the situation that both countries find themselves in.” None-the-less, despite his denial of blame and complaints of economic boycotts by China, he has no right to make such complaints as Lithuania’s provocations against the Asian country is motivated by nothing more than wanting to serve the West’s anti-China agenda, even at the expense of his own country’s economic interests.