Lithuania: “Pivot to Taiwan” receives both criticism and recognition

Lithuania’s decision to distance from China and forge closer ties with Taiwan is one of the government’s most influential foreign policy initiatives, LRT reports. The move is part of Lithuania’s “values-based foreign policy,” which touts the country as a “freedom-loving outpost” in an increasingly authoritarian region. At the same time, officials admitted that the move away from China was aimed at reinforcing security ties with the US. However, China’s reaction to Lithuania’s decision to allow Taiwan to open an embassy in Vilnius was harsher than expected. At the time, some EU diplomats criticised Lithuania for unilateralism. Also, the “pivot to Taiwan” suffered from lack of staff at the Foreign Ministry. Nevertheless, Margarita Seselgyte, director of Vilnius University’s Institute of International Relations and Political Science (TSPMI), noted that Lithuania had succeeded in making EU policy towards China slightly tougher.