V. Čmilytė-Nielsen doesn't think Lithuania's policy towards Taiwan is inconsistent: Landsbergis' decision logical

Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Speaker of the Seimas, sees no change in Lithuania's policy towards China or Taiwan. Moreover, she said, Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis had acted rationally by not meeting with the head of Taiwan's diplomacy, Joseph Wu, who visited Lithuania in November.

Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen.<br>T. Vinicks (ELTA) photo.
Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen.<br>T. Vinicks (ELTA) photo.
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Nov 15, 2023, 11:40 AM, atnaujinta Nov 15, 2023, 11:41 AM

„It makes perfect sense. If we don't have diplomatic relations (with Taiwan – ELTA), the foreign ministers don't meet. It cannot be otherwise,“ she told Žinių radijas.

„I see what has happened in Lithuania in recent weeks and the arrival of Taiwan's foreign minister as a consistent honouring of commitments,“ she said, recalling her recent visit to Taiwan.

„Parliamentarians, the Speaker of Seimas, have much more freedom in this case. This is what we see in practice,“ she said.

The politician did not mince her words about the statement of the head of the Lithuanian diplomatic mission about the ongoing talks with Beijing on the normalisation of relations between the two countries. Ms. Čmilytė-Nielsen also believes that this should not be seen as a change in Lithuania's foreign policy launched by the right-wing government in 2020.

„This is about trade relations... They remain, economic cooperation exists, and there is no desire to stop it. I think this is a rational position for Lithuania. I don't see any particular change,“ the politician said, assuring that Lithuania has always followed a one-China policy.

In recent weeks, relations with China and Taiwan have again been discussed in Lithuania. The discussions were sparked by the arrival of Taiwan's Foreign Minister Yu Wu in Lithuania. Mr Landsbergis did not meet the Taiwanese Minister officially, but commenting on the situation to journalists, he mentioned talks with Beijing on normalising relations. The Minister's decisions have been criticised by the opposition and some commentators as examples of inconsistency in foreign policy.

ELTA recalls that Lithuania's decision to allow a Taiwanese representative office to operate in Vilnius has strained relations between Vilnius and Beijing. At the end of 2021, Beijing imposed tough diplomatic and economic sanctions. In addition, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs officially changed the level of diplomatic relations with Lithuania from ambassador to temporary charge d'affaires.

Tensions in bilateral relations occurred after Lithuania withdrew from the 17+1 cooperation format with China. At that time, the head of the country's diplomacy, Gabrielius Landsbergis, urged other EU countries to follow Lithuania's example. However, only neighbouring Estonia and Latvia followed Vilnius' example.

At the end of October, Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Speaker of the Seimas, visited Taiwan and led a business mission.

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