Lithuania Shows the West How to Stand Up to China

Lithuania Shows the West How to Stand Up to China

Lithuania Shows the West How to Stand Up to China

Lithuania is a tiny Baltic nation that lies between Poland on the southwest, Belarus to the east and Latvia to the north. The Baltic Sea lies to her west. I would bet that most Americans couldn’t find it on a map. But the US and other western nations should take a page from them on how to stand up to a bully — in this case, China.

 

China Is Angry

The Chinese Communist Party is very, very angry at Lithuania right now. Why? Because they want to develop ties with Taiwan; in fact, they have allowed the Taiwanese to set up a representative office in Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital. And Taiwan is paying Lithuania back by letting them open an office in Taipei. This is very welcome news to Taiwan, since there are only 13 UN nations and the Vatican that recognize her as an independent state.

That put China in a snit. Beijing downgraded its diplomatic ties with Lithuania, which, in turn, pulled its diplomats from China last month. Plus, China cancelled contracts with them, and ordered multinational corporations to stop dealing with the Baltic nation.

 

Lithuania Has Its Issues with China, Too

But that’s not the first volley that Lithuania — with an active military of about 18,000 troops — has fired over China’s bow. Last year she withdrew from the “17+1” trade pact. Formed in 2012, 17+1 included twelve European Union states and 5 Balkan states (17) allying with China (+1) to promote Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative.

However, that didn’t work out too well for Lithuania. Instead, they found that their trade deficit with China grew by 33%, while their exports to China decreased by 4%. China, it turned out, got all the benefits while Lithuania lost out. So they left.

So what’s in it for Lithuania that they would defend Taiwan so ardently?

 

Taiwan and Semiconductors

Lithuania may have a tiny population of 2.8 million, but it’s one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union. And they really want to beef up their semiconductor manufacturing base. So they’re teaming up with Taiwan, which has an enormous talent pool that they’re willing to share with them. Eric Huang, Taiwan’s first representative to Lithuania, said this:

“We will begin to offer training programs for Lithuania in 2022 in its quest for semiconductor talent, and that will coincide with other industry cooperation.”

“We will also leverage Lithuania’s global leadership in laser technologies and the collaboration is sure to create a win-win.”

Lithuania/semiconductor

Credit: Wikimedia Commons/yellowcloud/CC BY 2.0.

 

Josh Wolfe, CEO of Lux Capital, tweeted that Sun Tzu would be smiling at Lithuania about now.

 

What About the United States?

Fortunately the United States is looking to increase its trade and investment with Lithuania in order to help it recover from its losses after China cancelled contracts. Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis met with Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman in Washington, DC, in November to discuss these issues. And Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda met with Joe Biden in Glasgow, Scotland, to ask for support. Nauseda said:

“I once again thanked the United States for its involvement in our defence and security. Of course, I asked for consistent support for our policy vis-à-vis China.”

Biden assured Nauseda that he would support Lithuania, but of course, as with anything with this administration — take it with a grain of salt.

 

Why Is Lithuania So Bold?

As a nation in Eastern Europe, Lithuania’s recent history shows that it’s been a volleyball batted between empires and autocrats.

In the 19th century, the nation was part of the Russian Empire, which tamped down on the country’s language and Catholicism. But after World War I, and the defeat of the Czar by the Bolsheviks, Lithuania became an independent nation — but only for a short time. Then in the 1920’s the country went back and forth between the Poles and post-coup army rule. In 1940 the Soviets moved in; in 1941, it was the Nazis. But in 1944 the Soviets recaptured Vilnius, the capital, and later all of Lithuania. The little nation remained under Communist domination until 1991, when the Soviets finally recognized its independence. Lithuania also became a member of the United Nations in 1991.

So you can see why they’re unafraid to stand up to China. This is a little nation that’s been to hell and back over the past 200 years, and some bully in Beijing isn’t about to make them tremble in their boots.

 

Featured image: Gitanas Nauseda, President of Lithuania/NATO/flickr/cropped/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

 

Written by

Kim is a pint-sized patriot who packs some big contradictions. She is a Baby Boomer who never became a hippie, an active Republican who first registered as a Democrat (okay, it was to help a sorority sister's father in his run for sheriff), and a devout Lutheran who practices yoga. Growing up in small-town Indiana, now living in the Kansas City metro, Kim is a conservative Midwestern gal whose heart is also in the Seattle area, where her eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live. Kim is a working speech pathologist who left school system employment behind to subcontract to an agency, and has never looked back. She describes her conservatism as falling in the mold of Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles. Don't know what they are? Google them!

8 Comments
  • Bully for my relatives (by marriage) in Lithuania.

  • Ted says:

    Please, the nation on the ISLAND of Taiwan, is THE REPUBLIC OF CHINA. Calling the nation “Taiwan” is a kow-tow to Communist China and the IOC. Decades ago, the latter, under pressure from the Red dictatorship refused to allow ROC athletes to compete unless they re-labeled. I know “Republic of China” takes more typing, but I’d love to see texts refer to the Republic of China, and style the other Communist China or Red China. I guess it’s too much to hope for China and Red China. Yes, that’s a Red China target I feel on my back. BTW I believe I was the target of a Red China troll last week. Reminds me that the coffee company MJB, failed with AJB through EJB. Their first viable product was FJB!

    • Kim Hirsch says:

      I curated much of the information in the post from the Epoch Times, which as you might know is an anti-CCP, pro-freedom publication. They used the name “Taiwan,” so if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for my readers. Besides, it would be confusing.

      Thank you for reading.

      • GWB says:

        I think it would be suitable to apply it the first time you mention Taiwan: “Taiwan (The Republic of China, apart from Communist China)”. That way you make the point, but only have to type it once.

    • Cameron says:

      I have yet to hear about the people of Taiwan (AKA The Real China) getting upset at that name.

  • GWB says:

    I would bet that most Americans couldn’t find it on a map.
    Sadly, even after your very precise description, I’m betting most Americans under 40 still couldn’t find it on a map. “Baltic Sea? What’s that?”

    I applaud Lithuania for taking its bold stand among the nations of the world. You do your people and nation proud.
    And I pray you do not again become a pawn among nations that can squash you like a bug.

  • American Human says:

    I recall as a young boy back in the 60s telling Polish jokes i.e., why did the Pollack… and etc. We laughed at them for no reason other than the jokes were funny to teenaged boys. Then in the late 80s Lech Walesa started the Solidary movement in Poland and it was revealed to me that the Polish people had had enough of the Soviet dictatorship and learned further that they long had spines of steel. Reading about them during the Nazi occupation and the damage they did to the Nazis and then believing they would finally be free, here came the Soviets to put their boot on the Pole neck. Then in the 80s the Poles had enough and have shown themselves to be lovers of individual freedom and true friends to the U.S. I stopped telling Polish jokes long ago when I realized the Poles were none of the things we were supposedly joking about. Other nations are showing that too. Such as Lithuania and other Baltic states (I have long known where the Baltic Sea is and who the Baltic states are). Then comes Joe Biden, in hoc to all the world’s bad guys, and is willing to talk out of the side of his mouth to stalwarts like the PM of Lithuania. I am a born, bred, and raised American Citizen and stand in awe sometimes of these strong characters who are willing to do what is right for their countries!! God Bless Lithuania!!!!

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