Kubilius promotes better ties with China

  • 2010-02-24
  • From wire reports

VILNIUS - Lithuania is especially interested in developing cooperation with China in sea, railway and air transport areas, says Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius, reports news agency ELTA. On Feb. 19, the prime minister received China’s Ambassador to Lithuania, Mingtao Tong. During the meeting, Kubilius and Mingtao Tong expressed their satisfaction over the development of Lithuanian and Chinese bilateral relations in the areas of economy, transport, culture and science.

It was noted that recently, there has been an interest from China in investment in transport and a logistics center in free trade zones. There are also plans to establish distribution centers for Chinese goods in Lithuania.
“The growth of China’s economic and political power in the world and Lithuania’s membership in the European Union open new opportunities for bilateral and multilateral cooperation in various areas. Lithuania is glad that China provided financial support to the first meeting of the transport ministers of Asia and Europe (The ASEM Transport Ministers’ Meeting) in Vilnius last October. The Vilnius declaration, which was then signed, starts giving specific ideas to solve the problems of trade and transport in both continents, in forming a long-term, effective and safe transport system,” Kubilius noted.

In April, the Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists will organize a business mission to China’s Shanxi province, where the fourth investment and trade forum for cooperation between Eastern and Western China will be held. According to the prime minister, this year will witness another very important event - the exhibition EXPO 2010 - which will be held in Shanghai. This exhibition will be visited by President Dalia Grybauskaite.

Mingtao Tong welcomed a successfully evolving bilateral scientific and cultural relation. According to the ambassador, in March, the Confucius Institute will be solemnly opened at Vilnius University. The new institute will offer Chinese culture and language studies, courses for primary and secondary school teachers of the Chinese language, administer the level test and tests for determining the ability to teach Chinese as a Foreign Language, offer courses on China’s culture and hold events to popularize the culture of this Far East country.

The ambassador was also interested in the issue of Tibet Square. Kubilius told the diplomat that there was a wide range of plazas, streets and squares with various names in Vilnius. “We have Siberia Street, Washington Square, Chechnya Square, Tibet, and we may also have Tibet Square; if there is a will, we may also have China, or Beijing Street. This is decided upon by Vilnius city municipality. Lithuania maintains the common European Union position with regard to Tibet, the essence of which is the policy of ‘one China,’ based on the principle of recognition of China’s territorial integrity, but, together with other EU countries, we stand for dialogue and peaceful regulation of relations between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama,” he said.

“The more we talk to each other and the more we know about each other, the better we understand each other,” added Kubilius, who pointed out that the Seimas’ draft resolution on Tibet also complied with the official position of Lithuania.