2021.09.23 09:50

Lithuanian president calls for smoothing the edges in ties with China

BNS2021.09.23 09:50

President Gitanas Nausėda says both Lithuania and China need to look for a solution to repair recent rifts in their diplomatic relations.

Relations between Vilnius and Beijing have turned sour in recent months after Lithuania started developing ties with Taiwan, with plans to open its representation.

“We are making efforts, in cooperation with individual countries, [...] just to try to smooth out the corners that have formed now,” Nausėda told reporters in New York.

Any solution needs to respect Lithuania's right to develop economic or cultural relations with countries and territories it wants to, according to Nausėda, as well as to help avoid “diplomatic demarches”.

“I believe that the solution to the problem is in the hands of both states and unilateral action would probably only produce a partial result,” he said. “I think we can resolve this conflict with the help of mediators and by demonstrating a willingness to negotiate and talk.”

Lithuania's decision to allow Taipei to open its trade office in the country under the name ‘Taiwan’ marked a turning point in Vilnius' relations with Beijing.

In response, China recalled its ambassador from Vilnius in August and demanded that Lithuania do the same.

Moreover, China has recently started halting freight trains to Lithuania, stopped issuing food export permits, cut credit limits for Lithuanian companies and raised prices.

Some Lithuanian businesses working with China have informed Lithuania's authorities that their Chinese partners are refusing to renew or conclude negotiated contracts in the wake of the deterioration in relations between the countries.

In his speech at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Nausėda condemned Belarus' actions in fueling the migrant crisis on the Lithuanian border and Russia's ongoing aggression in Ukraine and Georgia, but he did not mention China.

“In the 15 minutes we have to address the world, we really need to say the things that are important both to us and to the world, which I did,” he told reporters.

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