China relations remain, despite Latvia withdrawal

China relations remain, despite Latvia withdrawal

Greece remains a member of a cooperation framework between China and over a dozen Central and Eastern European countries, which Latvia and Estonia withdrew from Thursday, following in the footsteps of Lithuania, which withdrew last May.

The move comes during Western criticism toward China for escalating military pressure on Taiwan, a democratically ruled island that China claims as its own territory.

“Past participation in the 16+1 format has not yielded the desired economic results,” Latvia’s Foreign Ministry told Reuters.

Relations between Lithuania and China worsened after the Baltic nation allowed Taiwan to open a de facto embassy late last year.

In statements published Thursday, both countries said they would continue to work toward “constructive and pragmatic relations with China” while respecting the rules-based international order and human rights.

The European Union regards China as a strategic rival in some areas, but seeks to encourage Beijing to reform trade rules at the World Trade Organization.

This is despite Beijing sanctioning some European Parliament members and punishing Lithuania economically. Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia also remain in the cooperation format. [Reuters]

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