Outgoing Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu has said he is skeptical about an upcoming 17+1 meeting held between China and central and eastern European countries. He would prefer Estonia to communicate with China through the European Union.
Website EurActiv reported on Wednesday that China hopes to hold a meeting with 17 central and eastern European countries in February.
Reinsalu said Estonia has received an invitation but there are "several question marks" over the issue.
"I have made it no secret that my preference would be to communicate with China not in the 17 + 1 format, but in the European Union format, and to demonstrate the unity of the West," he said.
Reinsalu said Estonia has not yet made a decision about participation and he considers it necessary to consult with Latvia and Lithuania.
The 17+1 initiative is between China, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia.
It was started by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and seeks to promote business and investment relations. However many countries are skeptical of China's aims and ambitions in the region.
Editor: Helen Wright