Seimas speaker doubts Chinese investment might affect Lithuania's politics
Speaker of the Lithuanian Seimas Viktoras Pranckietis doubts that Chinese investment into the Lithuanian port of Klaipėda might affect the country's internal politics. He says he has not seen the alleged report from the State Security Department over threats posed by Chinese investment.
"I haven't seen the report, perhaps it will be sent to me as well and then I'll see it. But we should probably speak about the need to defend the interests of our country, and if there are some suspicions, we need to discuss them to put our interest first and only then speak about all trade and other countries' interests in our port," Pranckietis told the Žinių Radijas news radio on Wednesday morning.
"I wouldn’t imagine China's influence on internal politics when one or the other economic issues is being resolved," he added.
Vytautas Bakas, chairman of the parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defense, says the parliament will discuss Lithuania's political and economic relations with China in the fall. Aušra Maldeikienė, an NSGK member, says the committee has received a report from the VSD on threats linked to Chinese investment in Lithuania.
Bakas refused to comment on this information, and VSD also did not disclose whether it really sent such a report to the parliamentary committee.
Now in Lithuania, a special government commission checks investors and might bar them from entering the country if they pose threat to national security.
Chinese transport, logistics, real estate and financial giant China Merchants Group spoke several years ago about a possibility to deliver its cargo via Klaipėda several. The company is now developing an industrial park, Great Stone, in Belarus and the direct route for its exports would be via Klaipėda.
Arvydas Vaitkus, head of the port of Klaipėda, said earlier CMG expressed its wish to build a new container terminal in Klaipėda. It also tried to invest into Klaipėdos Smeltė, one of the largest handling companies in Klaipėda, in 2016 but the deal failed.