Estonia And Latvia Leave Eastern Europe Forum Which Is Backed By China
EASTERN EUROPE - Established in 2012, the China-CEEC Co-operation (16+1 Cooperation), a forum created by China to bolster relations in the EU, has now lost 2 members, Estonia and Latvia, due to the increased relationship between China and the Russian Federation, which is being seen as a conflict of interest for eastern European countries, considering Russia's war in Ukraine.
The forum was created by China to increase relations with EU members and to build infrastructure for Xi Jinping's belt and road campaign over the Eurasian continent. Originally consisting of 17 European countries, it has now fallen to 14 member countries.
For countries that were members of the former Soviet Union, the war in Ukraine is being seen as the first step in re-seizing control of former territory.
China has refused international pressure to condemn Russia to date, and in fact has assisted Russia in avoiding international sanctions by buying exports from the country, giving it relief from economic destruction.
Before the special military operation began in Ukraine, President Xi Jinping hosted President Putin in China, as they declared a global partnership without limits, securing an outlet for Russia, as if they anticipated international push-back through economic sanctions.
Latvia and Estonia's exit also comes after China launched a series of retaliations via diplomatic and economic measures against Lithuania for expanding its ties with Taiwan, a move viewed as in opposition to China's 'One-China' Policy.
Taiwan has made the headlines repeatedly over the summer with various visits from Japanese delegations to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, sparking Chinese outrage and live-fire military training, surrounding Taiwan. China claims Taiwan as its own and threatens to take it by force if necessary.
China has been increasingly assertive across the globe, and its tensions over Taiwan have created nothing short of an international incident and backlash from the United States, Japan, South Korea, the European Union, Australia, and many others.
According to the Associated Press, Latvia's Foreign Ministry had this to say:
"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,... The Country 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." - Latvian Foreign Ministry
In a similar statement, Estonia took the same action and removed itself from the China-CEEC forum. Estonia has not attended a meeting of the forum since the last in February, as this was when the invasion of Ukraine began.
Intelligence Groups in the United States have claimed that Russia has asked China for assistance. In Return, more western sanctions have hit Russia, in an attempt to halt the support.
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