2019.09.25 09:06

Chinese delegation arrives in Lithuania to discuss economic ties

BNS2019.09.25 09:06

Xu Shaoshi, chairman of the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee of the National People's Congress, and Wang Huizhong, a member of its Overseas Chinese Committee, came to Lithuania on Tuesday evening to discuss evenomic relations.

As part of their visit, which will end on Friday, they are scheduled to meet with the Lithuanian parliament's group for interparliamentary relations with China, Gediminas Kirkilas, the vice-speaker of Seimas, and Deputy Foreign Minister Neris Germanas.

"They are the guests; they will raise the issues. But I think we will mostly focus on financial matters in our discussion," Kestutis Glaveckas, the head of the interparliamentary relations group, told BNS.

"A huge crisis is brewing in Asia. I'm interested in these things – South Korea, China, Japan," he said. "The trade turmoil is going to affect Lithuania, too."

Kirkilas told BNS he would discuss Lithuanian agricultural product exports to China and the Asian giant's investments in Lithuania with the Chinese MPs.

The Communist Party-controlled National People's Congress usually rubber-stamps the government's decisions.

Lithuania's economic ties with China have been rather limited so far as the government is cautious about potential Chinese investments into strategic facilities, such as the seaport of Klaipėda and the state railway company Lietuvos Geležinkeliai, because of concerns that they could also bring unwanted political influence.

Read more: The rough face of China’s soft power in the Baltics – Investigation

There has been an increasingly heated debate over the use of Huawei technologies in the development of Lithuania's fifth generation, or 5G, network.

Read more: Baltics caught between superpowers in China's 5G battle – Investigation

A few political incidents between Lithuania and China have occurred recently, too.

In late August, a minor scuffle broke out after a group of pro-Beijing activists turned up at a rally in Vilnius in support of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry handed a protest note to Beijing's ambassador over Chinese diplomats' role in the incident.

On Monday, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius said the city's administration would not grant a permit to organise a fireworks display in the capital on October 1 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China.

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