The Baltic nation of Lithuania has recently become the European face of resistance against the People’s Republic of China — and also a new friend to Taiwan.
Vilnius is the latest to make waves over changes to its policies regarding Taiwan and China.
The first significant move it made was in May, when it announced that it had left the Cooperation Between China and Central and Eastern European Countries (China-CEEC) initiative, making the “17+1” forum “16+1.”
Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabrielius Landsbergis said that the arrangement did not fulfill its purpose and provided few benefits to the country.
He urged the EU to abandon the 16+1 in favor of negotiating with Beijing a “27+1” format to obtain better leverage.
The EU is more potent as a unified front and weaker when it is split in half. The announcement was not necessarily shocking, as Vilnius had announced that it was reviewing its participation in the China-CEEC earlier in the year.
However, it demonstrated that even smaller countries do not need to fear China, especially if the national government has not seen many benefits.
Lithuania did not stop with the China-CEEC. In July, Taipei and Vilnius announced that each would be opening reciprocal representative offices in their capitals. This news, combined with Lithuania’s earlier challenge to Beijing, points to a new direction in how the country will approach the region.