The entire world is closely watching how two tiny members of the European
Union have shown courage to stand against China and its aggressive political
and economic moves. First was Lithuania and it is Slovenia now. The Central
European country has openly disclosed its plan to establish a representative
office in Taiwan. Lithuania and Slovenia are members of NATO and plan to set
up their own representative offices in Taiwan, a close US ally. Their move has
left China shocked and fuming.
Ahead of winter Olympic games Slovenia’s Prime Minister Janez Jansa
disclosed his plans to establish a representative office in Taiwan. The
Slovenian prime minister stated that he had visited Taiwan four or five times,
and that Taiwanese should have the right to determine their future. Taiwan is
a democratic country that respects international democratic standards and
international laws, the Slovenian prime minister stated in the interview which
is being talked about in the diplomatic circles. The modalities of the diplomatic
relationship are still not clear but PM has clearly stated that Slovenia and
Taiwan are working on “exchanging representatives. This will not be on the
level of embassies. It will be on the same level as many of the EU member
Slovenia’s plan to strengthen ties with Taiwan appears to have been prompted
by Beijing’s angry response to similar moves by Lithuania last year. Slovenia
has close relations with Lithuania.
Following the steps of Lithuania,Slovenia took a courageous step to challenge
China’s geostratigic ambitions and made the announcement that it would
establish a representative office in Taiwan. Slovenia and Taiwan are working
towards strengthening their relations. Slovenia’s plan of action to upgrade
relations with Taiwan has been condemned by China because it claims Taiwan
as its own.
As far as Slovenia is concerned, one needs to revisit PM Jansa’s statement as
he literally came close to recognizing Taiwan’s right to self-determination, at a
time when Beijing is putting diplomatic pressure on isolating the island and
threatening to take it by force, if necessary.
Slovania’s plans to open a Taiwan office is likely to provoke a “shocked”
Beijing into yet another diplomatic spat despite hopes of mending ties with the
European Union. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian had stated
that China was “shocked by this and strongly opposed to it.” Describing it as a
dangerous statement made by the Slovenian leader, Lijian said that the
statement overtly challenges the One-China principle and supports Taiwan
independence. Zhao literally warned that no one should underestimate the
strong determination, firm will and strong ability of the Chinese people to
defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Taiwan regional authority and Slovenia do not have representative offices with
each other. The Taipei economic and cultural representative office in Austria
currently handles affairs related to Slovenia.
Analysts in China and the entire world are closely watching China as to how it
will react to Slovenia in terms of action? Slovenian PM Janša has severely
criticised Beijing for economic coercion against Lithuania and ridiculed China
for being ambiguous on Taiwan’s relations with other countries. He said that
while China was trading with Taiwan but it was opposing the same relations
between Taiwan and other countries.
Chinese expert has come down heavily on Jansa stating that infamous in
Europe and facing corruption allegations, Jansa plays the Taiwan card to cover
his troubled resume, at the cost of dragging down the EU and complicating
China-EU relations. Another said that similar to Lithuania, Slovenia wants to
amplify its voice and political presence in the EU through the Taiwan
question. Lithuanian and Slovenian politicians are using the EU’s existing
mistrust of China to disturb cooperation another expert from China stated.
To understand China’s possible action against Slovenia, one needs to look what
action it took against Lithuania . China has not only cracked down on
Lithuanian imports but also on goods from other EU countries — such as
France, Germany and Sweden — that include parts from Lithuanian supply
chains. Beijing claimed that Lithuania stand on Taiwan had breached the EU’s
one China policy. But both Vilnius and Brussels strenuously deny that Lithuania
has breached the policy. According to available reports, Lithuanian businesses
have found themselves blocked from China’s customs system, unable to fulfil
export orders or import components made on the mainland.
The row has spilled over into other European countries: manufacturers from
the likes of France, Germany and Sweden have reported having goods blocked
at Chinese ports because they contained parts made in Lithuania. However, it
is to be seen what action does China take against Slovenia which enjoys close
relations with Lithuania. EU leaders keep a close watch on China.
Lithuania and Slovenia relations:
Lithuania was the first to grant de-jure recognition to Slovenia, while Slovenia
was among the first to recognize Lithuanian re-independence. Both countries
joined NATO and the European Union at the same time. Lithuania and
Slovenia, the President Dalia Grybauskaitė had stated, are also connected by
deep respect to freedom and democratic values – the founding stone for
knowing each other better, strengthening bilateral relations and people-topeople contacts.
The fact that Lithuania and Slovenia have been developing state-of-the-art
technologies that enjoy demand throughout the world reveals the high
potential of scientific cooperation which can contribute to progress in both
countries. Lithuania and Slovenia are also connected by a unique historical
bond. The earliest known depiction of Vilnius, dating back to the 14th century,
is safeguarded in the archives of Slovenia. More than 600 years old, it was
discovered by Slovenian art historian Janez Hofler.