Lithuania is not the only NATO member state to express concerns about alleged Chinese spying. What is the reason for these accusations and how are they related to the deterioration of Sino-US relations?
Commenting on the report published by Vilnius, the Chinese newspaper Global Times drew attention to the absurdity of the very idea of increased Chinese intelligence activity in the country. The publication expressed doubt that a country with a population of 3 million people far from China's borders would interest Chinese intelligence. It must also be noted that the scientific potential of Lithuania isn't high enough to justify espionage.
So why did Lithuania follow a number of Western countries in promoting the espionage theme?
Global Times believes that this is due to the subordinate position of Lithuania in NATO and the desire of this Baltic state to impress Washington.
Chinese expert Yang Mian, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of China University of Communications, told Sputnik that he shares the views of Global Times and noted that Russia has also been targeted in the unwinding scandal. Namely, these two countries have been named as America's main geopolitical rivals in the official documents of the United States ever since Donald Trump came to power.
"European countries, such as Germany and France, have recently once again began promoting the idea of the Chinese threat, they've even declared that a total of '450 Chinese and Russian spies are in the heart of Europe'." Lithuania is a "junior partner" in NATO. The report of the Lithuanian intelligence services, in which China is accused of espionage and activities that threaten Lithuanian national security, primarily demonstrates loyalty to the EU and the United States. It demonstrates enthusiasm in fighting a common enemy of Europe and the United States. A small country such as Lithuania needs support from the EU and the United States, and adherence to the anti-China wave, driven by a desire to gain recognition and to be seen. Of course, acting this way means being on the side of an unjust cause."
This news piece, in particular, is referring to a popular steak restaurant and cafe just a few minutes on foot from the main building of the European Commission and the office building of the European External Action Service. Will this atmosphere of hysteria be able to influence cooperation between China and the EU, because normal commercial activity is possible only in an environment of trust? This is what Professor Yang Mian believes:
"Spreading the 'concept of the Chinese threat' and denigrating China is one of the long-standing methods used by some countries. These false statements will certainly have some effect on cooperation between China and the European Union, but they still will not have a fundamental impact. With regard to the long-term interests of European countries, their relations with China are unlikely to be seriously affected by these dubious rumors. I don't think that any country can break off relations with another country or curtail cooperation only because of the risks associated with espionage."
According to Yang Mian, the current wave of accusations against China is not directly related to the difficult state of Sino-US relations, although the expert still sees an indirect connection there.
"I cannot say that China's European espionage accusations are directly related to the current state of China-US relations, although coordination and cooperation with the United States cannot be ruled out, so that Europeans can show their loyalty. After all, Europe has always been an important region for spreading the idea of the Chinese threat. On this issue, Europe and the United States act in unison," Professor Yang Mian concluded.
The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.