Latvia, China discuss political matters

On 13 January 2021, political consultations of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Latvia and China were held in a video-conferencing format co-chaired by the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Andris Pelšs, and the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of China, Qin Gang, a press release from the Ministry said.

"The officials discussed bilateral cooperation between the countries, current relations between the European Union and China, as well as in the format of cooperation between the Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) and China, and in regional matters," the release said.

"Andris Pelšs characterised relations with China as pragmatic and active, pointing out that that both countries seek opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation, while not avoiding dialogue on issues where their opinions differer considerably, for instance, human rights and the functioning of a rules-based international system. Latvia is interested in strengthening cooperation with China based on practical results to address the mutual trade deficit. The State Secretary drew attention to the need for building more balanced relations between the EU and China, especially in economic affairs and international trade, as well as underlining the importance of transparency and international cooperation in addressing the negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The officials also discussed preparations for the CEEC-China Summit," the release added.

Qin Gang recently praised the CEEC-China Summit format eight years after its foundation and four years after it came to Rīga. Meanwhile former Latvian President Valdis Zatlers also last year praised the format.

The release made no direct mention of the fate of China's Uighur minority or moves to prevent Chinese company Huawei playing a central role in the development of 5G infrastructure, two of the hottest international topics of the moment, though Huawei was recently running an online course for Baltic students.

Latvia and China mark the 30th anniversary of their diplomatic relations this year. The political consultation between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Latvia and China is a regular format for sharing views on bilateral cooperation and recent developments in international policy. Previous political consultations took place in 2017 in Beijing.

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