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HomeLithuaniaChina resorts to 'diplomatic coercion' against Lithuania – foreign minister

China resorts to ‘diplomatic coercion’ against Lithuania – foreign minister

Beijing has resorted to “diplomatic coercion” against Vilnius after easing its economic pressure on Lithuania, Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said on Saturday.

Landsbergis said he would raise the issue during EU foreign ministers’ informal meeting in Brussels.

“Today, at our meeting, I will have the opportunity to raise another issue – a new page in China’s coercion against Lithuania,” Lithuania’s top diplomat told reporters in the Belgian capital.

“For almost two years, we had suffered trade restrictions and economic pressure, but now the situation is better,” the minister said.  “Unfortunately, a new front has opened; we call it diplomatic coercion.”

“Lithuania can’t act in Beijing because China has unilaterally lowered the level of diplomatic relations with our country, thus restricting travel and all diplomatic operations between the two countries. I’d like to inform my colleagues about this here at this meeting,” he added.

In late January, Landsbergis confirmed that the Chinese charge d’affaires office had suspended the issuance of visas to Lithuanian citizens as of January 24.

The minister then said that he was unware of the reasons for and the duration of the suspension.

He told journalists last November that Vilnius and Beijing officials were in talks about normalizing diplomatic ties.

Vilnius angered China in 2021 when it allowed Taipei to open its representative office in the Lithuanian capital with the word “Taiwanese”, rather than “Taipei’s”, in its name.

In response, Beijing downgraded diplomatic ties with Vilnius and blocked Lithuanian exports and imports.

In early 2022, the European Commission launched a case at the World Trade Organization against China over its discriminatory trade practices against Lithuania. At the Commission’s request, the WTO’s panel in late January temporarily suspended proceedings in the dispute.

Source: BNS

(Reproduction of BNS information in mass media and other websites without written consent of BNS is prohibited.)


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