torsdag 10. februar 2022

How China’s Economic Coercion Is Bringing Lithuania and Australia Together

Lithuania’s foreign minister, Gabrielus Landsbergis, flew to Australia this week for the opening of his country’s new embassy in Canberra. The trip should have been a routine visit to cut a ribbon, shake hands with Australian politicians, diplomats, and business leaders, and meet with Lithuanian diaspora community groups. Yet in recent weeks the trip has taken on a much larger significance, as Australia has taken a keen interest in an ongoing dispute that Lithuania has with China.

Last year, Beijing became incensed that Lithuania allowed Taiwan to open a representative office in Vilnius using the name “Taiwan” (rather than the convention of using “Taipei” instead). In response to this affront, China has downgraded its diplomatic relationship with Lithuania, forcing Vilnius to repatriate its diplomats from China, and implemented an effective trade embargo against Lithuanian goods.