By Shelley Shan / Staff Reporter
Taiwan and Lithuania may soon sign an air services agreement to facilitate the provision of codeshare as well as scheduled flights between the two countries, the Ministry of Transport and Communications said yesterday.
The ministry issued the statement following a five-day visit by a Lithuanian delegation led by Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications Agne Vaiciukeviciute.
The two countries exchanged views on air and sea transport issues, as well as the development of 5G applications, intelligent transport systems and electric vehicles, the ministry said.
Lithuania expressed hope that China Airlines Ltd (中華航空) would carefully assess the possibility of launching passenger and cargo flight services between the two countries, the ministry said.
The Baltic country has three international airports. In June, it ranked second among European airports in terms of resumption of air passenger traffic, according to data provided by the delegation.
“Although we are optimistic about the prospects for establishing direct air services between the two countries, we recommended that the two first start by negotiating and signing an air services agreement,” the ministry said.
“Air traffic demand will gradually increase with continued trade and technology exchanges between Taiwan and Lithuania, which should facilitate the provision of codeshare services and scheduled flights,” he added.
As the port of Klaipeda, Lithuania’s only seaport, reported a drastic reduction in container throughput due to the dispute between the Baltic state and China over its relationship with Taiwan, the delegation expressed hope that Taiwanese shipping companies would use the port as a hub, help increase container shipping to the port and invest in its facilities and logistics, he said.
The delegation also said that Lithuania would welcome Taiwan’s participation in port expansion plans and in training personnel to manage offshore wind energy, it added.
“We have accepted their invitation to visit the Port of Klaipeda, and Taiwan International Windpower Training Corp (台灣風能訓練) will have further exchanges with the Lithuanian Port Authority on training personnel to manage offshore wind systems,” said the Ministry.
Besides the Ministry of Transport, the delegation also visited the Ministry of Economic Affairs, car manufacturer Tangeng Advanced Vehicles Co (TAV, 唐榮車輛科技) and electric bus manufacturer Tron Energy Technology Corp (創奕能源科技), said the ministry. , adding that he has signed a memorandum of understanding with TAV for potential partnerships.
The visit sparked protests from Beijing, with Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) yesterday calling it a challenge to the “one China” principle and a “vicious provocation that undermines sovereignty and territorial integrity of China”.
When Vilnius established relations with Beijing, it had “promised not to establish official relations and to conduct official exchanges with Taiwan”, Wang said, accusing him of going back on that promise.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) told the ministry’s regular press conference in Taipei that Taiwan and Lithuania are two “independent and sovereign nations that have the freedom to develop relations ” with any country of their choice.
“Lithuania has sent successive delegations to Taiwan this year. It is quite clear that he is not afraid of China,” she said.
The two countries emerged from autocracy and now stand at the forefront of upholding democracy, she said, adding that Taipei and Vilnius are working closely together to develop substantial bilateral exchanges. .
“The Foreign Ministry reiterates its sincere welcome to the establishment of a Lithuanian office in Taiwan,” she said.
Additional reports by CNA
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