US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Jose Fernandez’s visit to Lithuania ends today. Accompanying Fernandez
US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Jose Fernandez’s visit to Lithuania ends today.
Accompanying Fernandez were senior officials from the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM), who together with Fernandez discussed the implementation of a recently signed $600 million US-Lithuania memorandum of understanding with Lithuanian officials.
This major influx of American money into Lithuania comes during a diplomatic crisis in the country’s relations with China, which has pressured multinationals to sever ties with Lithuania following the opening of a Taiwanese embassy there and other anti-China moves. The two are likely connected: Fernandez cited support for Lithuania’s “value-based foreign policy” as a reason for the signing of the memorandum.
A shift emphasizing relations with the increasingly anti-China West in Lithuanian foreign policy is not surprising. However, it has less to do with any antipathy toward China than a practical assessment of Lithuania’s best interests. With the recent Belarusian-sponsored refugee crisis on Lithuania’s border and increasing aggression from neighboring Russia, closer ties to other NATO states are essential to Lithuanian national security. Good relations with China are increasingly a liability in strengthening those ties, so do not expect Lithuania to back off from this confrontation.
Wake up smarter with an assessment of the stories that will make headlines in the next 24 hours. Download The Daily Brief.