Caixin
Jun 01, 2021 07:40 PM
WORLD

China Calls for Europe to Put Aside ‘Misgivings’ After Lithuania Defects

What’s new: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi urged European countries to put aside any “distrust and misgivings” after Lithuania pulled out of the China-led “17+1” group of Central and Eastern European nations.

From Saturday to Monday, Wang met with the foreign ministers of Poland, Serbia, Ireland and Hungary in the southwestern Chinese city of Guiyang, where they “reached wide-ranging consensus,” according to a statement released Tuesday by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

“We all agree that we should pay attention to and calmly reflect on the current difficulties in China-Europe relations,” Wang said, adding that the right approach for both sides is “to launch constructive dialogue, enhance mutual understanding.”

What’s the background: Last month, Lithuania quit the “17+1” group, which China initiated after the 2012 eurozone crisis to promote cooperation and investment with 18 European countries. 

The Baltic state announced its withdrawal was for “practical purposes,” and called on other EU countries to follow suit. “There is no such thing as 17+1 anymore as for practical purposes Lithuania is out,” the country’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis was quoted by Politico as saying.

“From our perspective, it is high time for the EU to move from a dividing 16+1 format to a more uniting and therefore much more efficient 27+1,” Landsbergis said.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use.

Contact reporter Cai Xuejiao (xuejiaocai@caixin.com) and editor Michael Bellart (michaelbellart@caixin.com)

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