China cuts transport ties with Lithuania after vicemin's Taiwan visit

  • 2022-08-12
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - China says it's imposing sanctions on Lithuanian Vice Minister of Transport and Communications Agne Vaisiukeviciute and is suspending cooperation with the ministry and with Lithuania in the transport sector in general following the vice minister's visit to Taiwan earlier this week, the Reuters news agency reports on Friday.

According to the report, the decision was taken by China's Foreign Ministry.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications told BNS it had not yet received official information from Beijing.

Vaiciukeviciute and a Lithuanian business delegation visited Taiwan earlier this week to discuss cooperation in the area of transport. 

The delegation, which included representatives of the Lithuanian seaport of Klaipeda, electric bus makers Vejo Projektai, Altas Auto and Elinta Robotics, concluded the visit to Taiwan on Friday. The Transport and Communications Ministry says 14 meetings were held over the five days, including those with representatives of four ministries, two international seaports, and several world-renowned private and state-owned companies.

Earlier this week, Speaker of the Lithuanian Seimas Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen said she had received an invitation from Taiwan's parliament to visit Taiwan, adding that she would try to pool a larger delegation of EU parliamentary leaders.

In his interview with BNS earlier this week, Qu Baihua, China's acting chargé d'affaires in Lithuania, warned that any visit to Taiwan by officials from Lithuania or other countries would "violate the One-China principle".

A total of three vice ministers from Lithuania have visited Taiwan this year, including Vaiciukeviciute, Vice Minister of the Economy and Innovation Jovita Neliupsiene and Deputy Agriculture Minister Egidijus Giedraitis.

In Beijing’s view, those are political visits by executive officials, Qu Baihua said.

The opening of a representative office named after Taiwan in Vilnius last year angered Beijing and it downgraded diplomatic ties with Lithuania and imposed trade restrictions, which the European Union took to the World Trade Organization.

Lithuania plans to open a trade office in Taipei in September and it’s expected to boost cooperation between the two countries in the areas of business, economy, research and innovation, culture and transport.