A statement from the EU on Wednesday on "China's measures against Lithuania" was blasted by Chinese experts as a move that aids the Baltic country in challenging the one-China principle and violates the bloc's own commitment to the one-China principle.
"The EU has been informed that Lithuanian shipments are not being cleared through Chinese customs and that import applications from Lithuania are being rejected. We are in close contact with the Lithuanian government and are gathering information via the EU Delegation in Beijing in a timely manner. We are also reaching out to the Chinese authorities to rapidly clarify the situation," read the EU statement.
In the statement on "China's measures against Lithuania," the bloc said that it is currently confirming the matter and is "ready to stand up against all types of "political pressure and coercive measures applied against any EU Member State."
The statement come as a report by the South China Morning Post on Tuesday said Lithuanian exporters were granted access to the Chinese market after being "unable to send shipments because of technical problems" on Friday, a claim on which the EU apparently based its statement.
However, Chinese customs and other sources told the Global Times on Wednesday that Lithuanian products were never removed from China's customs list as claimed by some companies from the Baltic country.
A Global Times investigation published earlier also found that Lithuania was never removed from Chinese customs list as claimed by some Lithuanian officials, prompting Chinese analysts to suggest that Lithuanian was also manufacturing evidence for "economic coercion."
A Chinese observer said the statement from the EU is playing with fire on the "one-China policy," urging the EU to help Lithuania correct its mistakes, instead of encouraging the country to continue the mistakes.
The EU's commitment to the one-China principle should not just stay in words but should be put into practice, Cui Hongjian, director of the Department of European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times, adding that "Lithuania's actions have violated the one-China principle, so a right action for the EU is to stop Lithuania."
The EU statement said that "the EU remains committed to its one-China principle and recognizes the government of the People's Republic of China as the sole government of China. Within the framework of this long-established policy, the EU will pursue cooperation and exchanges with the island of Taiwan in areas of common interest."
The statement also comes as the EU is pushing forward so-called anti-economic coercion legislations, which many analysts say targets China.
Even if the EU proposes a new tool to counter the use of economic coercion by third countries, it is in fact made for China and Lithuania might be the frontrunner of the bloc to push forward such instrument, Cui said.
"With such tool and the alleged evidence, they are looking for legitimacy and the rationality of the anti-coercion measure. In other words, it is a 'two-man comic show' by Lithuania and the EU," Cui explained.