Taiwanese bars will be able to refine their cocktail recipes, while a container of 20,400 bottles of Lithuanian rum should arrive on the island within a few days. The state-owned Taiwan Tobacco & Liquor Corporation has bought this batch of brown alcohol from MV Group Productionbecause it was threatened with being blocked by Chinese customs. TTL justified this symbolic approach as follows, Monday, January 3: “Lithuania supports us and we support Lithuania. TTL calls for a toast for this. “ On Wednesday, more seriously, Taiwan promised to create a fund of 200 million dollars to invest in Lithuania.
Since Vilnius withdrew from the Sino-European cooperation group “17 + 1” in May 2021, then opened a representative office in August “From Taiwan”and not “From Taipei”, as only Beijing tolerates, it has placed itself under the wrath of China. A trade and diplomatic war has opened between the two countries. And more widely between the allies of Vilnius and Beijing. After the support given by Washington and Berlin to Lithuania on Wednesday and the statements by their foreign ministers that Chinese pressure on the Baltic state was unjustified, the spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry left taken Thursday in the United States and Germany.
Consequences on domestic policy
In recent days, the subject has also burst into Lithuanian domestic politics. President Gitanas Nauseda, who works in cohabitation with a center-right government, on Tuesday called” error ” the name of the office, defended by the very pro-American foreign minister Gabrielius Landsbergis, who left before Christmas to seek Washington’s support.
The small Baltic country of 2.8 million inhabitants exports 357 million dollars worth of products to China (first and foremost cereals), conversely importing 1.3 billion Chinese goods (primarily electronic). The customs blockades suffered by Lithuanian companies are said to start to seriously damage the economy, even if the authorities in Vilnius refuse to disclose the impact. The government announced on Wednesday an aid plan of 130 million euros to compensate for these losses suffered in China.
Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte, also facing migratory pressure from Belarus, welcomed the support of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European People’s Party (EPP) leader Manfred Weber on Wednesday . But Europeans should support Lithuania more, believes Antoine Bondaz, researcher at the Foundation for Strategic Research (FRS): according to him, the case is less a bilateral trade dispute than a test on how China intends to use the weapon of economic coercion vis-à-vis the whole of Europe.
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Lithuania, test country for China’s economic coercion strategy in Europe