In a bid to contain China, Taiwan has become US’s most used diplomatic weapon of choice to intensify pressure on mainland China with hope of getting more concessions after Hong Kong,Tibet and xinjiang cards failed to bring change to China that US hoped for from the beginning.
Taiwan has been at the heart of diplomatic row between US and China since Trump administration and now, many other countries are getting cought between the interests of those two competing powers.
Lithuania is a good a example, its diplomatic relationship with China worsened last year in 2021 after it decided to open a representative office under the name Taiwan instead of naming it Taipei like what other major countries have done.
Lithuania insisted with the support of US that it was within their own rights to choose to cooperate with Taiwan by opening their representative office in its name in Vilnius the capital of Lithuania which made Beijing angry after repeated warning that the opening of office under the name Taiwan in Lithuania would come at cost since it would mean that Lithuania was creating two China ‘mainland China and Taiwan China’ the Change China wasn’t willing to accept internationally.
After the office was opened, the relations between Beijing and Vilnius deteriorated. Lithuania had also withdrawn from the grouping of 17+1.
After Vilnius allowed Taiwan to open the office under its name which enraged Beijing, China downgraded its embassy in Lithuania to a charge d’ affairs office and demanded Lithuania do the same for its embassy in Beijing, prompting Lithuania envoys to leave the Chinese capital in fear of losing diplomatic immunity.
Then Lithuania started accusing China of blocking imports of its products and then Vilnius announced aid package worth 130 million Euros to help businesses affected by dispute but Beijing denied accusations prompting EU officials to say that it was irresponsible.
So last year the news come that Lithuanian dark rum wouldn’t be allowed to enter the Chinese mainland market which prompted the Taiwanese company under the name Taiwan and Tobacco liquor (TTL) operating under the government of Taiwan to intervene and buy more than 20,000 bottles of dark rum made by MV group production in December as means to show support Lithuania.
Long queue have formed outside government owned liquor shop in Taoyuan, Taiwan as local Taiwanese people turn up to buy Lithuanian ram rejected by the mainland China.
This begs a question, is this Taiwanese government way sustainable. Will Taiwanese government buy everything that is rejected by mainland China incase many countries decide to cooperate with the island with its small population of 23 million and a much smaller economy than the mainland China.
China has denied blocking trade with Lithuania, European Union says it confirmed reports from Lithuania that it goods are being held at China’s customs.
Recently, Lithuanian president Gitanas Nauseda come out and said that the government’s decision to allow Taiwan to open representative office using island’s name was a mistake in a radio interview.
The criticism by the head of state come after polls showed that many people in Lithuania were against the move that has triggered friction between China and European Union which took China to world Trade organization for blocking trade with Lithuania.
Although EU is trying to show solidality with Lithuania under immerse pressure from US, EU foreign policy don’t recognize Taiwan as a country and has for a number of time reassured its adherence to “one China policy” which was violated by its member state Lithuania.
So instead EU of talking to its member state Lithuania about the matter, EU decided to go to World Trade organization to help settle the dispute between China and Lithuania. This comes after EU refused to put sanctions on China as a matter of defending Lithuania in fear of China’s own retailation.
China become EU’s largest trading partner in 2020 after covid-19 pandemic devastated economies of many countries a round the world expect for that one of China after Beijing introduced the toughest measures to fight against covid-19 pandemic by locking down entire cities with millions of people in order to prevent the spread of the virus.
This quick decision making by Beijing helped China to bounce back earlier from the effects of covid-19 pandemic than any other economy in the world hence becoming source of almost everything other countries needed to pass through lockdowns and in fight against covid-19 pandemic.
Like what happened during world war II when US was the main source of weapons which sustained the world warII and goods people could use since the war had little effects on US itself, China has also assumed almost the same role as it has produced what everyone in the world needed to fight covid-19 pandemic from masks, PPE, ventilators, protective gears and vaccines to important items used in working from home like computers and other electronics.
This has made China a dominant power when it comes to trade and many countries including EU member states are betting on China to help their economies recover which is the same as what happened after world war II where US stepped aid worth a hundred billion dollars to help in reconstruction of Europe.
China’s economy in nominal GDP terms surpassed that of all 27 members of European Union after growing at 8.1% percentage rate in 2021 posting a GDP of more than 114 trillion Yuan or 18 trillion dollars.