On Thursday, 11 August, Estonia and Latvia pulled out from a cooperation framework with China and over a dozen Central European or Eastern European countries. This follows the withdrawal of Lithuania in May.
This is a response to Western criticism of China’s growing military pressure on Taiwan. Taiwan is an island democratically controlled by China and China claims it as its territory.
According to the Latvian Foreign Ministry, “Past participation in the 16+1 format had not produced the desired economic outcomes.”
Relations between China and Lithuania declined after the opening of a defacto Taiwanese Embassy by Taiwan in late last year.
It stated that “Latvia’s continued involvement in the China-led Cooperation Framework for Central and Eastern European Countries does not align with our strategic objectives in the current international environment.”
Thursday’s statements by both countries indicated that they would continue to seek “constructive and pragmatic relations” with China and will respect the rules-based international system.
The Estonian foreign ministry could not immediately be reached for comment.
Estonian and Latvian embassies to China in Riga, Tallinn (Estonia) did not immediately reply when they were asked their opinions.
China is a strategic rival in some areas. The European Union wants to encourage Beijing to reform the trade rules at the World Trade Organization. Despite Beijing sanctioning some European Parliament members and penalizing Lithuania economically, this is not the case.
The co-operative arrangement is still in place for Bulgaria, Croatia, and the Czech Republic.
This article is shared: