Lithuania's Foreign Vice-Minister Pranckevičius: The EU must speak with a single voice in relations with China
On 15 September, the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Arnoldas Pranckevičius attended the Nordic-Baltic Eight (NB8) Foreign Ministers' meeting in Helsinki, Finland. At the meeting, the NB8 Foreign Ministers discussed items on the international agenda important for our region, including the difficult situation in Afghanistan, the role of international organisations (e.g., the OSCE, the UN, the HRC) in strengthening international security, security challenges posed by climate change, measures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, and other relevant issues.
The Foreign Vice-Minister Pranckevičius highlighted the importance of the European Union's common policy toward China, drew attention to China's disproportionate response after Lithuania left the 1+ 17 format, decided to strengthen economic and cultural ties with Taiwan, and requested for partners' solidarity. “Lithuania’s decisions are not directed at China. The country just seeks to strengthen the EU’s common policy towards China. Lithuania believes that in relations with China, the EU must speak with a single voice, while the relationship itself should be based on values and clear principles,” said Pranckevičius.
The NB8 Foreign Ministers expressed full solidarity with Lithuania, stressing that the unity of both the region and the EU was important when speaking to China.
In a discussion on Afghanistan, the Foreign Vice-Minister stressed not only the importance of transatlantic unity and the need to base relations with the Taliban government on clear conditions, but also the EU's potential role in the region. “The military withdrawal of allies from Afghanistan should not become also Europe's political and diplomatic withdrawal from the region. It is especially important to strengthen the EU’s role in Central Asian countries by helping them manage migration challenges and by preventing radicalization,” said Pranckevičius.
The Foreign Vice-Minister reminded that the Belarusian regime continued repression of civil society's democratic voice and thanked our partners for their solidarity in the face of the Belarusian regime's hybrid attack against Lithuania, Latvia and Poland. “We call for raising the issue of hybrid attacks on EU borders during the upcoming 76th session of the UN General Assembly,” said Pranckevičius. The UN Security Council should also maintain its focus on the occupation of Crimea.
On the eve of the NB8 Foreign Ministers’ meeting, a meeting of Foreign Ministers of the NB8 and the Visegrád Group (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) took place, which discussed migration and its causes, infrastructure projects in the region in the fields of energy and transport, perspectives for the transition to a sustainable energy future, the situation in Russia and Belarus, strengthening transatlantic cooperation, and other relevant issues.
Lithuania will take over the coordination of NB8 cooperation from Finland on 1 January 2022.