Lithuania has no interest in severing relations with China, an advisor to President Gitanas Nausėda said on Thursday, adding that the president still expects Beijing to reconsider the decision to recall its ambassador.
Several weeks ago, Taiwan announced plans to open a representative office in Vilnius under the name of Taiwan – not Taipei as elsewhere in Europe – by the end of the summer. Lithuania is also planning to open a trade office in Taiwan.
In response, China recalled its ambassador to Vilnius and demanded that Lithuania withdraw its envoy to Beijing.
"We are in a situation where we want to maintain diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China, when we have certain economic, cultural and social interests, and it is not in our interest to end them," Asta Skaisgirytė, Nausėda's chief foreign policy adviser, told LRT RADIO.
"The president has said on more than one occasion that he deeply regrets the decision to recall the ambassador and hopes that China will reconsider this decision and will not escalate this conflict so much," she said.
The adviser noted that Lithuania is not the only country to host Taiwan’s representative office.
"Lithuania's case is not unique or exceptional. Taipei has dozens of representative offices in Europe and that nervous reaction is, of course, somewhat exaggerated," Skaisgirytė said.
"Our dialogue with the Chinese has not stopped, and as long as there is dialogue, there is always hope," she added.