VILNIUS – If China is not stopped from using trade as a weapon, Lithuania and Australia will not be the only victims of such action, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis, currently on a visit to Australia, said in Canberra.
"For quite a while, Australia has probably been one of the main examples why China is using economy and trade as a political instrument, one might say even as a political weapon. Now Lithuania joins this "exclusive club". But it is apparent that we're not the last ones, especially if these practices are not stopped with the instruments that we have. And therefore I very much welcome Australia, joining the consultations, that were started by the EU in the WTO," Landsbergis told a joint press conference with Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne in Canberra on Wednesday.
"I think we need to remind countries like China or any other country that would wish to use trade as a weapon that the like-minded countries across the globe have tools and regulations that help to withstand the coercion and not to give in into political and economic pressures," the Lithuanian minister said.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne highlighted the important of joint effort by like-minded countries that are interested in the operation of the international rules based order, free and open trade, openness and transparency, security and stability".
"There are many colleagues with whom the foreign minister and I work and engage on these issues (...). We are sending the strongest possible message about our rejection of coercion and rejection of authoritarianism," Australia's top diplomat said.
Both Australia and Lithuania say they are under China's economic and trade pressure over their political-diplomatic position on some matters.
Asked whether Russia's ongoing military buildup near NATO's eastern flank could divert the EU's attention from China problems, Landsbergis said "these are not regional issues".
|Both Russia and China currently act as disruptors of the global rules-based order. It's not regional – it's not just Indo-Pacific regional or European regional issues, there're some global players that are acting disruptively, and we have to ask to act counter-disruptively, that means reassuring and strengthening our ties and this rules-based order that provides security for some of us and prosperity for others in that community," the Lithuanian minister said.