2nd Apr 2023

Lithuania only EU state to back Pelosi on Taiwan

  • Nancy Pelosi, the US speaker, arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday (Photo: Gage Skidmore)
Listen to article

Lithuania has become the only EU country to publicly endorse a controversial US visit to Taiwan by House speaker Nancy Pelosi.

"Now speaker Pelosi has opened the door to Taiwan much wider, I am sure other defenders of freedom and democracy will be walking through very soon," Lithuanian foreign minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said on Twitter on Tuesday (2 August).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

He spoke out as Pelosi's plane touched down the same day in Taipei, where she met with Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday to voice US solidarity.

"I think they [the Chinese] made a big fuss because I'm speaker — I don't know whether that's the reason or an excuse. Because they didn't say anything when the men came," Pelosi told press, referring to a visit by six male US lawmakers in April.

The Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, earlier warned Pelosi that she was "playing with fire".

The Chinese military scrambled jets and warships in snap military drills in the region.

And the Chinese foreign ministry warned: "No country, no forces and no individual should ever misestimate the firm resolve, strong will and great capability of the Chinese government and people to defend state sovereignty and territorial integrity and to achieve national reunification".

Lithuania already attracted Chinese fury, including trade sanctions, last year by letting Taiwan open a quasi-embassy in Vilnius and by sending ministers and MPs on visits to Taipei.

MEPs have also defied China by going to Taipei last November and in July this year. And Landsbergis' comment on "other defenders of freedom" pointed to a planned future visit by the British parliament's foreign-affairs committee.

Meanwhile, EU-China relations have also frayed over Beijing's political support for Russia's invasion of Ukraine and over Chinese abuse of its Uighur minority.

Behind the EU silence on Pelosi's visit, "there was apprehension in European capitals that one of China's possible responses ... may be an acceleration in the level of its cooperation with Moscow," Jonathan Eyal, from British defence think-tank Rusi, wrote in an op-ed in The Straits Times newspaper.

"There is also a fear that rising tensions between Beijing and Washington may divert US attention away from confronting the Russian invasion of Ukraine," he added.

Pelosi's trip was "purely provocative", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also said on Tuesday, highlighting the geopolitical links between the Ukraine and Taiwan conflicts.

Chinese president Xi Jinping was watching the Ukraine war "like a hawk" to see how far the West was willing to defend its friends around the world, Richard Moore, the head of Britain's MI6 foreign intelligence service, said on 21 July.

"In the event of a military invasion [of Taiwan], we have made it very clear that the EU, with the United States and its allies, will impose similar or even greater measures than we have now taken against Russia," Jorge Toledo, the EU's incoming ambassador to China, said on 17 July.


Supporting Taiwan 'like carrying water in a sieve'

China's ambassador to Belgium, Cao Zhongming, says the US has been distorting, obscuring and hollowing out the 'one-China' principle and unscrupulously undermining China's core interests. This is sheer double standards and a shameful act of bad faith.

Estonia and Latvia sever China club ties

Beijing's club was meant to forge stronger European relations. Lithuania left it last year. Now Estonia and Latvia have also decided to walk over Chinese bullying.


Aid agencies clam up in Congo sex-for-work scandal

The European Commission has 25 documents, including emails, in its possession that contains "information about potential crimes" involving aid agency staff in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. EUobserver received a partial disclosure of the documents.


Ukraine — what's been destroyed so far, and who pays?

More than 50 percent of Ukraine's energy infrastructure, large parts of its transport network and industrial capacity, around 150,000 residential buildings damaged or destroyed. The bill is between €378bn to €919bn.

Latest News

  1. EU to press South Korea on arming Ukraine
  2. Aid agencies clam up in Congo sex-for-work scandal
  3. Ukraine — what's been destroyed so far, and who pays?
  4. EU sending anti-coup mission to Moldova in May
  5. Firms will have to reveal and close gender pay-gap
  6. Why do 83% of Albanians want to leave Albania?
  7. Police violence in rural French water demos sparks protests
  8. Work insecurity: the high cost of ultra-fast grocery deliveries

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWWEFBWW calls for the EC to stop exploitation in subcontracting chains
  2. InformaConnecting Expert Industry-Leaders, Top Suppliers, and Inquiring Buyers all in one space - visit Battery Show Europe.
  3. EFBWWEFBWW and FIEC do not agree to any exemptions to mandatory prior notifications in construction
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ways to prevent gender-based violence
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: Economic gender equality now! Nordic ways to close the pension gap
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: Pushing back the push-back - Nordic solutions to online gender-based violence

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us