TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China is imposing additional sanctions on Lithuania in retaliation for the latter's pursuit of closer relations with Taiwan.
Companies in the agricultural, animal husbandry and timber industries of the Baltic country have complained about trade restrictions from China amid heightened political tensions. The latest obstacles from Beijing include the denial of import permits and accusations of substandard pest management, reported CNA.
The trade woes are believed to stem from Lithuania’s overtures to Taiwan, including allowing it to set up an office in Vilnius using the name "Taiwan," which enraged China. In response, Beijing has recalled its envoy to Lithuania and arbitrarily halted rail freight earlier this month.
The punishments are intended as a warning for others, said Matas Maldeikis, chairman of the Lithuanian Parliamentary Group for Relations with Taiwan.
The Global Times, a mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, slammed Lithuania in an article on Aug. 21 for “siding with the U.S. by provoking China over the Taiwan question.” Describing it as a “chess piece,” the article said the Baltic country risks being cornered into isolation.
Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda has insisted the nation can determine whom it wishes to develop ties with. The U.S. has so far been supportive of Lithuania, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken telling its foreign minister in a phone call on Saturday (Aug. 21) that the U.S. will help it resist pressure from China over relations with Taiwan, according to Reuters.