Latvia, Estonia pull out of China cooperation format

A cooperation format once lauded in Rīga as the future of Chinese relations with the countries of Eastern Europe has now been kicked into touch, the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced August 11.

The so-called "16+1" format will now be reduced to "14+1" with both Latvia and Estonia withdrawing from the organization on the same day. For a while it was called the "17+1" format but Lithuania has already withdrawn as a result of China's outrage about Lithunia's warm relations with Taiwan.

"In view of the current priorities of Latvian foreign and trade policy, Latvia has decided to cease its participation in the cooperation framework of Central and Eastern European Countries and China. Latvia will continue to strive for constructive and pragmatic relations with China both bilaterally, as well as through EU-China cooperation based on mutual benefit, respect for international law, human rights and the international rules-based order," the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. Estonia issued a similar statement.

In 2016 Rīga played host to a summit of the 16+1 coutries – an occasion notable for the announcement of a new 10 billion euro fund which Latvia signed up to, and about which very little has been heard in the years since.

 

 

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