VILNIUS – Lithuania’s policy on China remains unchanged, Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis has said adding that economic sanctions applied by Beijing against Lithuania are most likely illegal.
“Lithuania has de facto never changed its policy on China. China has decided to apply unannounced, most likely illegal measures against Lithuania and the European Union. That’s the fact of the matter,” the minister told reporters on Wednesday before the government’s meeting in response to the question whether there were plans to amend the country’s foreign policy with respect to China due to pressure from Beijing and negative reaction of the general public.
According to a poll commissioned by the Foreign Ministry and conducted by Vilmorus on December 10-18, 60 percent of Lithuanians have a negative view of Lithuania’s policy on China while 13 percent are in favor of the current stance.
Landsbergis said that, in his view, some of the questions asked during the poll had not been worded precisely enough.
“… I would probably ask a question whether Lithuania should support, agree with the aspiration of Taiwan’s people to be called Taiwanese, instead of asking about Lithuania’s policy on China,” the minister said.
“It looks to me that such a question is more important in this context. It shaped China’s response to Lithuania and, to tell the truth, to Europe as well,” he added.
Lithuanian-Chinese relations soured after a Taiwanese representative office was opened in Vilnius under the island's name. Experts say the name in Chinese sounds like it is Taiwan's representative office, and Beijing views that as Taiwan's attempt to act as an independent country.
With the Vilnius-Beijing diplomatic row ongoing, Lithuania’s businesses have complained of various restrictions in trade with China, which the country’s politicians have described as unannounced sanctions.