With China blocking imports from tiny Lithuania including those with Lithuanian parts as retaliation for allowing Taiwan to open a representative office in Vilnius, the Middle Kingdom’s wolf warrior diplomacy has started targeting global supply chains.
In the past, wine imports from Australia were stopped after Canberra called for an investigation into the origins of the deadly Coronavirus pandemic and Salmon imports from Norway were stopped after a Chinese dissident was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Chinese import sanction on tiny Lithuania is a veiled threat to other members of the European Union (EU) not to question Beijing. Fact is that the Xi Jinping regime is targeting global supply chains to punish a small country. While a Chinese spokesperson denies blocking imports containing Lithuanian components, the hit is on German automotive suppliers as their precious cargo is said to be languishing at Chinese ports. Germany and France are beneficiaries of a close economic relationship with China, which often uses this leverage to dilute any diplomatic action against Beijing on human rights contemplated by the EU.
The German automotive industry players as well as multinational companies, reeling under Chinese potent action, are already putting pressure on Lithuania to rename the Taiwanese office in Vilnius and warning the tiny EU country to back down as German subsidiaries are at risk. German CEOs are known to have warned their political leadership not to conduct confrontational foreign policy with China, clearly showing how the economic leverage of Beijing works globally.
Incidentally, the US Congress has passed the Uighur Forced Labour Prevention Act, which would bar goods made by forced labour in the Sinkiang region from entering America. The US multinational companies are bracing for the day when the Act becomes law.
While Lithuania’s total exports to China were a mere $ 350 million in 2020 with the balance of trade much in favour of Beijing, but the Xi Jinping regime expanded the sanctions to hurt global supply chains by including Lithuanian parts.
Lithuania, Australia and Norway are examples to show that Beijing refuses to take criticism lying down and India was first to face the brunt after the 14th Dalai Lama was given shelter in Dharamshala in 1959. It was then paramount leader Mao Zedong who made an example out of India by launching the 1962 war across the 3,488 km long Line of Actual Control (LoAC). Since then, Beijing has not ceded an inch to India as it is in relentless pursuit of superimposing the 1959 line (first unveiled by Premier Chou En-Lai) on Ladakh LoAC and claim Arunachal Pradesh as South Tibet even though it has recognized the same McMahon Line as the border with Myanmar.
Under the circumstances, little is expected out of the 14th round of India-China military dialogue to resolve the Ladakh LoAC and roll back the PLA aggression over the years. Clearly, for the PLA, the LoAC has now become a Line of Control (LoC) with rapid military infrastructure upgrades all along the line that still awaits resolution.