Pushing back against China, Lithuania, a tiny European nation with a population of just 2.8 million has announced that it is quitting the China-led “17+1” grouping which also comprises several central and southern European nations, Hindustan Times.
While quitting the grouping which was formed in 2012 by China to build ties and expand influence, Lithuania has also asked other member nations to walk out of the grouping.
Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis has called the “17+1” platform ‘divisive’ from the European Union’s perspective and has urged the EU members to pursue a “much more effective 27+1 approach and communication” with China. Landsbergis added that Europe’s strength and impact are in its unity.
It should be noted that back in 2019, Lithuania had also emerged as the first Baltic nation to identify Chinese espionage as a national security threat. It had then noted, “As Chinese economic and political ambitions grow in Lithuania and other NATO and EU countries, activities of the Chinese intelligence and security services become increasingly aggressive.”