Lithuania playing losing bet on Taiwan

China on Sunday decided to downgrade diplomatic relations with Lithuania to the level of charge d'affaires. The move, which is a rare one for China, shows Beijing's determination to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity and uphold the one-China principle.

On Thursday, the Baltic country made the decision to allow the Taiwan authorities to open a "representative office" under the name of "Taiwan" in the country. This outright violation of the one-China principle immediately drew strong opposition from Beijing.

Bilateral ties between Beijing and Vilnius were already in trouble since the latter revealed its intention to interfere in the Taiwan question in August. It can be expected that worse is yet to come if Vilnius refuses to change course, as Beijing has long made it clear it will not tolerate any provocation over the one-China principle.

Lithuania pledged to adhere to the one-China principle when it established diplomatic ties with Beijing in 1991. Its decision to renege on that pledge is a pathetic attempt to try and curry favor with the United States to fish for more gains.

Knowing that it would become the vanguard for the US' provocations on the Taiwan question and the decision would anger Beijing and incur economic losses, it has already asked for support from the US side.

And, according to media reports, the US has agreed to provide economic assistance to Lithuania to mitigate any economic losses it might otherwise suffer.

But not content with that, Lithuania has also turned to the European Union for help, with the intention of pushing the bloc onto the bandwagon against China. On Saturday, Lithuania's Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said the Baltic state would "appreciate" material support from Brussels.

The EU should remain sober minded and not allow its strategic autonomy to be hijacked by Lithuania.

The bloc has reportedly postponed a plan to upgrade its trade ties with Taiwan, which shows its uncertainty over how to balance its ties with the Chinese mainland and Taiwan.

Those in the EU who harbor the malicious intention to hype the Taiwan question to encourage the bloc to side with the US against China should be told they are miscalculating the situation, as most European countries have affirmed they continue to uphold the one-China principle and still honor their promises to Beijing.

Not to mention that the foundation for mutually-beneficial cooperation between China and Europe remains solid.

The Taiwan question is a core interest of China. Lithuania should reverse its wrong decision and honor its pledge to uphold the one-China principle. If it persists in going down the wrong path, China will not hesitate to take stronger countermeasures to ensure that Lithuania loses more than it can gain.