Following Lithuania, Latvia And Estonia Quit CCP’s 17+1 China Cooperation Group

In 2012, China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries established a cooperation framework, holding summit annually, to contact and cooperate on infrastructure and other development plans, the format once reached the “17+ 1” (17 CEE countries and Beijing). On July 11th, following the footsteps of Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia withdrew from the cooperation group. At present, there are only 14+1 countries left in the cooperation group following the Baltic withdraws.

In comments made on Thursday, Latvia and Estonia said “they would continue to pursue a ‘constructive and pragmatic relations with China’ while maintaining a rules-based global order and human rights.”

Latvia and Estonia on Thursday withdrew from the “16+1” China cooperation group as China ramped up military pressure on Taiwan and continued to deepen ties with Russia after Ukraine invasion.

Lithuania, the Baltic neighbor of the two countries withdrew last year.

Relations between Lithuania and mainland China have deteriorated since Lithuania allowed Taiwan to establish a de facto embassy last year.Lithuania also supports US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. Communist China called the move “erroneous”, blaming the NATO Baltic state of violating the one-China principle.

Croatia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia are some of the countries still part of the cooperation.

The West has risen criticism of China’s escalating military pressure on democratically ruled Taiwan in recent days.

Latvian Foreign Ministry says, “it’s no longer in line with our strategic objectives in the current international environment to continued membership of the group.”

The country recently passed a vote on Thursday recognizing “Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism”, and calling on other like-minded nations to follow.

Latvian Members of Parliament also declared that Russia’s actions in Ukraine is equivalent to “targeted genocide against the Ukrainian people”.

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