China Cuts Railway Trade Link with Lithuania Amid Taiwan Row, Report Says

China Cuts Railway Trade Link with Lithuania Amid Taiwan Row, Report Says

After a report that the business was stopping freight traffic in the midst of Beijing’s disagreement with Vilnius over Taiwan, China’s government rail administrator denied that the link to Lithuania had been halted. 


The Baltic News Service, the leading media organization in the Baltics, alleged to have received a letter from China Railway Carriers, a unit of China Railway, addressed to Lithuanian clients. The cargo railway initially planned to sail from China to Lithuania at the end of the month will be halted, according to the letter, led to economic tensions between Lithuania and China.


In accordance with the report published by Taiwan’s Central News Organisation on Wednesday, the CRCT letter highlighted “the worsening of bilateral ties” between China and Lithuania as the cause for the railway trading halt, which would last “until further notice.” 


In a response to the Global Times on Wednesday, China Railways rejected the claim. It stated that claims in the press that China Railway Ports had suspended commuter trains to Lithuania were incorrect and that China-Europe trains between the two nations were operating normally.


Speaking to Baltic media, Ramnas Rimkus, Lithuania’s transportation advisor in China, claimed the “Chinese decision to halt freight” was motivated by political concerns, according to the Taiwan-based Central Media Outlet. However, Rimkus stated that the Lithuanian authorities had received no evidence on the stoppage of railways connecting China and Lithuania. Trains are still running to Lithuania for the time being.


The Taiwanese Resident Facility in Lithuania will be followed by a comparable office in Taipei later this year, according to the two parties. Lithuania, like all other countries, has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but Vilnius believes that increasing economic and cultural ties with the self-governing the island would not compromise the country’s “one China” principle.


On August 10, China’s ambassador to Lithuania, Shen Zhifei, was summoned and the Lithuanian ambassador to China was compelled after the Baltic nation permitted secessionist Taiwan officials to open a “representative office” underneath the title “Taiwan,” a move is shown as a challenge to the one-China principle. In a written essay released in Lithuanian media on August 7, Shen expressed remorse for the Lithuanian government’s flagrant violation of the one-China principle and global standards regulating Taiwanese ties.


The decision is totally up to the Lithuanian state and citizens to decide whether to break the one-China concept and purposefully sabotage regular ties between China and Lithuania at the price of Lithuania’s and its country’s opinions, according to Shen.


Transfer of commodities between the Chinese mainland and Lithuania totalled $804.57 million from January to April 2021, up 21% each year. Within that time frame, Lithuania’s commerce with Taiwan was only $45.9 million.


Chinese financial clout over Vilnius is minor, but not insignificant. United Nations International Trade Statistics Database states that Lithuania imported $1.3 billion of commodities from China while outsourcing $357.7 million in merchandise in 2020. The numbers accounted for 4% of goods imported and 1.1 percent of exports in Lithuania.

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