Lithuania’s diplomats leave Beijing
16 December 2021 | 2:19 pm
Lithuanian diplomats in China returned to Vilnius for consultations, according to the Foreign Ministry. Vilnius called back its diplomats in response to Beijing's efforts to downgrade its embassy.
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The move comes as Minsk enables a huge influx of illegal migration into the EU. Lithuania says Belarus is seeking to harm the European bloc in response to sanctions.
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Lithuania has seen a sharp rise of migrants entering its territory, with most of them originally coming from Africa and the Middle East. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is suspected of causing the surge.
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A growing number of African and Middle Eastern migrants have been illegally entering Lithuania from Belarus. The country says it is finding it hard to cope. Alexandra von Nahmen reports from the Lithuanian border.
Illegal migration to Lithuania has increased hugely in 2021, with Lithuania blaming Belarusian strongman President Alexander Lukashenko's regime for encouraging the migrants to cross as retaliation against EU sanctions, calling it "hybrid aggression". Lukashenko has denied the allegations, insisting instead that Lithuania triggered the migrant influx itself after Vilnius announced in July it would cut the asylum request process to 10 days.
Lured to Belarus with promises of easy EU immigration, Iraqis, Syrians and Afghans are now trapped in Lithuania. Abbas al-Khashali and Hamza al-Shawabkeh met them there.
US Vice President Kamala Harris accuses Beijing of coercion and intimidation in the disputed South China Sea during a speech in Singapore. Harris' comments come as she seeks to rally Asian allies against China and shore up US credibility in the wake of the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Beijing has said it want to foster small and medium-sized businesses by setting up third stock exchange in Beijing. The move comes despite an ongoing regulatory crackdown on China's biggest tech companies.
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