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The President of Lithuania insists that the Baltic States will not back down in disputes with Belarus and China, claiming that it is committed to defending the principles and values of democracy from attack.
Gitanas Nauseda told the Financial Times that Lithuania, which borders Russia and Belarus, is accustomed to “have complex neighbors in our long history”, but has learned how to deal with it.
“Perhaps the most important message we can send to the Belarusian regime is that democracies are not weak. Democracies are strong, democracies are united, and democracies respect the rule of law. They should not count on our weaknesses. We will be decisive,” he added.
According to the President, Lithuania has experienced a “mixed attack” by Belarus against the entire European Union in recent weeks because Minsk has sent more than 4,000 immigrants -Mainly from Iraq-Crossed the border in what the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania called “weaponized migrants”.
Last week, it also became the first EU country to be affected by China. recall Lithuania has decided to allow Taiwan to open a representative office in Vilnius, and Beijing has expressed anger.
The tabloid “Global Times” controlled by China’s ruling Communist Party, Say In Wednesday’s editorial, Beijing should “join hands” with Russia and Belarus to “punish” Lithuania. “It is necessary for China and Russia to jointly strike a heavy blow on one or two lackeys in the United States to warn other countries,” it added.
Nauseda ironically pointed out the “coincidence” that Lithuania faced pressure from Belarus and China at the same time. He emphasized that Lithuania has always supported the one-China policy since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1991.
But Nauseda added: “We also hope to establish relations with China based on the principle of mutual respect. Otherwise, dialogue will become a unilateral ultimatum, which is an unacceptable requirement in international relations.”
He suggested that China may “reconsider and change the decision to recall the ambassador”, while stressing that “As a sovereign and independent country, Lithuania can freely decide which countries or regions to develop economic and cultural relations with.”
Lithuania only regained its independence in 1990 after being annexed by the Soviet Union for nearly half a century, and has now become one of the strongest defenders of democracy in NATO and the European Union.
“Sometimes, our neighbors or some other countries don’t like these principles and values,” Nauseda said. “But we can’t just choose to go the other way. This is our way. We know very well that this is not the easiest way.”
After persuading Iraq to stop flights to Minsk last week and allowing border guards to forcibly repel migrants who did not pass through official border crossings, Lithuania appeared to have gained control of forced immigration from Belarus. The wave of immigration seems to have moved to neighboring Latvia and Poland, the two EU and NATO member states that border Belarus.
Even so, there have been several incidents in Lithuania recently, and the president’s advisers say these incidents may be related. There was a small-scale riot outside the country’s parliament and an immigration camp; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs appeared to have also suffered a cyber attack.
Nauseda said: “We have recently become accustomed to dealing with hybrid attacks. We are seeing some cyber attacks coming. Lithuania is very aware of the increasing tensions in the region and we must be prepared to respond.”
The Lithuanian leader spoke with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg last Monday and asked him to deploy a NATO support team to the country’s border. He said the upcoming Zapad military exercises involving Russia and Belarus will intensify.” Possible tensions in the area”.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia has warn The possibility of “events”. Nauseda emphasized that although he has no evidence that Russia participated in the Belarusian hybrid attack, “no one can reject the idea that these developments are more or less beneficial to Russia.”
Nauseda said that Lithuania has learned “certain moral lessons” since independence, adding: “Due to our historical lessons and experience, we really take our responsibilities as a new member of NATO and the European Union very seriously. Our history is painful, and our history is complicated. But we believe that even in the 21st century, principles and values are important, and we will work hard to defend them.”