Lithuania stands up to China – but who will follow?
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BOIL IN THE BALTIC
Lithuania rewrote the diplomatic map this week by hosting Europe’s first “Taiwanese Representative Office”. Note the name: Taiwan’s de facto embassies in other European capitals use the “Taipei” label. This is to appease the authorities in mainland China, who regard the autonomous offshore democracy as a rebellious province. No such deference to Vilnius.
As we have reported in previous editions, the new southernmost Baltic state government (2.7 million people) has been working hard this year:
- Lead a boycott of the 17 + 1 summit in February.
- Then completely withdraw from the Chinese-led beauty pageant for Eastern European countries.
- He wants the EU to only deal with China at the 27 + 1 level
- He donated vaccines to Taiwan, defying an embargo on the mainland
- Vilnius parliament held hearings on Uyghur genocide
Communist China’s official reaction so far has been moderate: it has simply warned Lithuania must not send the “wrong signal”. Global Times, never constrained by logic, noted the gesture was both “hopelessly pathetic” and an unnecessary waste of money, but also provocative and a sign of “malicious intent”. Make up your own mind, comrades.
It will be interesting to see if Lithuania pushes the point. For example, will he give Taiwanese newcomers diplomatic identity cards, license plates, etc. ? What will be the status of the office he opens in Taiwan later this year? China will also not like plans to offer humanitarian visas to Hong Kong refugees.
China fears that Lithuania’s decision on Taiwan is part of a larger US plot; the American Embassy in Vilnius loudly congratulated Lithuania on the new desktop. In fact, the Lithuanians act on principle and find the lack of American and British support embarrassing.
The big question is who will follow suit: will Latvia let the existing “Taipei” mission in Riga change its name? And what about Estonia, once the model child of Western foreign policy, which does not have an office in Taiwan, or a Taiwanese office in Tallinn? Slovakia is considering send vaccines in Taiwan. We will keep you posted.
A company led by the United States coalition including EU countries and (for the first time) NATO called China on the Microsoft Exchange To hack. This is part of a model harsh words and empty deeds, although the The Ministry of Justice unveiled criminal charges against three Chinese state security agents and a hacker in absentia on unrelated espionage charges.
Next step: the United States promises to expose “50 tactics, techniques and procedures used by Chinese state sponsored cyber actors to target US and allied networks, plus advice on technical mitigation measures to deal with this threat. “
that of Norway complained to the Chinese Ambassador about a cyberattack on his parliamentary messaging system.
Intelligence agencies also warn of Chinese attacks on the International Parliamentary Alliance against China, according to to Iain Duncan Smith, the British Conservative politician. He is angry that he learned of the threat from foreign (i.e. Australian) intelligence, not the British.
British ghosts are still not convinced by Huawei. Their caustic annual report on the security standards of the Chinese telephone giant notes “no overall improvement”. The British government also frozen awards grants to Newport Wafer Fab, the country’s largest microchip factory, after it was sold to a China-linked investor after learning it received money for defense research . The sale is under review for national security reasons. Learn more about the deterioration of Sino-UK relations in this room by Thomas des Garets Geddes for Merics.
FC Barcelona has abandoned its sponsorship deal – worth € 3m ($ 3.53m), some say – with H&M, in hopes of bypassing the boycott the Swedish clothing company is facing in China for its position on human rights.
General Electric has drawn on a billion-dollar China-backed deal to expand a controversial $ 1 billion coal-fired power plant in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Swedish tech giant’s quarterly revenue Ericsson fall from 4.1 billion crowns ($ 470 million) to 1.5 billion crowns. Shares fell and management mourned Chinese retaliation against Sweden’s ban on Huawei. But last year, global full-year sales were SKr 232.4 billion. The loss of the Chinese market would not be fatal.
WHAT WE READ
- at Ulrike Franke report for the European Parliament on artificial intelligence. In short, stop seeing this as a regulatory issue and worry about geopolitics.
- An excellent Washington Quarterly article on Democratic deterrence by a Finnish thinker Mikael wiwell. Think of “hybrid interference” and not “hybrid war”. Increase resilience and punishment. “Wielded with confidence, democracy itself is a powerful strategic weapon. “
- Matej simalcik investigation Chinese “corrosive capital” and its Czech and Slovak accomplices.
- This international human rights service report on China’s influence operations at the UN’s ECOSOC (Economic and Social Committee). The state party has patience for these long, slow (and boring) games. Western countries do not.
WHERE ARE WE GOING?
This virtual Sinopsis panel (Friday) on Wolf Warrior Diplomacy has some of our favorite analysts (Martin Hála and Didi Kirsten Tatlow) over – interesting combination – the Taiwanese representative in Prague and the acting head of the US Embassy there.
WHAT WE LISTEN TO
Hungarian melodic punk rock band Bankruptcy issued this video in support of its former member Michael Kovrig, the Canadian citizen arbitrarily detained in China for nearly 1000 days. Profits from the song go to Hostage International.
Makuna Berkatsashvili, Mariam Kiparoidze, Isobel Cockerell, Katia Patin and Michael Newton of Coda Story’s CEPA contributed to this week’s China Influence Monitor, a joint project of CEPA and Coda Story. register here to receive the next issue straight to your inbox.