Latvia and Estonia withdrew from a cooperation framework between China and a dozen Central and Eastern European nations on Thursday, after Lithuania’s withdrawal in May.
The decision comes as the West criticizes China for increasing military pressure on Taiwan, a democratically governed island that China claims as its own.
“Previous participation in the 16+1 model did not result in the intended economic consequences,” Latvia’s Foreign Ministry told Reuters.
Lithuania-China relations deteriorated after the Baltic country allowed Taiwan to construct a de facto embassy late last year.
“In the present international climate, Latvia’s continuous involvement in the China-led Cooperation framework with Central and Eastern European nations is no longer consistent with our strategic objectives,” it stated.
Both nations stated in statements released Thursday that they will continue to strive toward “constructive and pragmatic ties with China” while preserving the rules-based international order and human rights.
The Foreign Ministry of Estonia was not immediately available for comment.
Requests for response were not immediately responded to by the Chinese embassies in Riga, Latvia, and Tallinn, Estonia.
In certain sectors, the European Union views China as a strategic foe, yet it aims to urge Beijing to alter trade regulations at the World Trade Organization. This is despite Beijing penalizing certain European Parliament members and economically hurting Lithuania.