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2021.11.26 16:00

Lithuanian FM says Beijing ‘not very aggressive’, expects ties to normalise

BNS2021.11.26 16:00

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said on Friday that signs of China's anger over the opening of Taiwan's representative office were not unexpected, adding that he hopes that relations between Vilnius and Beijing will gradually return to normal.

"The official tone from Beijing is not very aggressive; one might have expected more escalation," he told reporters. "Apparently, the reaction is temporary and some normalisation will take place little by little."

The Chinese embassy said on Thursday that it was suspending the issuance of visas in Lithuania.

It said in a statement that the move was due to technical reasons, but it came amid the ongoing crisis in Lithuanian-Chinese relations over Vilnius' ties with Taiwan.

Read more: Chinese Embassy stops issuing visas in Lithuania

Landsbergis said that his ministry had not received any official information on the suspension of visa issuance.

"We don't have any official information; there really could be technical problems," he said.

The foreign minister also expects that the tense relations will not prevent Lithuanian athletes from participating in the Beijing Winter Olympic

To his knowledge, members of the cabinet are not planning to travel to Beijing.

"But I hope that there will be no obstacles for the athletes who are ready to go [to Beijing], because that would provoke a deep and strong international reaction," Lithuania's top diplomat said.

China last week officially downgraded its diplomatic relations with Lithuania to the level of chargé d’affaires, in response to the opening of the Taiwanese Representative Office in Vilnius.

Beijing was angered by Lithuania's decision to allow the office to use the name "Taiwanese”, seen by China as an attempt to recognise the island nation internationally.

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