China is set to host representatives from 17 Central and Eastern European countries for its latest "17+1" summit on February 9, 2020. What is the significance of this unique regional grouping? This collection of CSIS analysis explains the initiative's development and its significance for the region since its announcement in 2012.
Browse our analysis section for news and articles on topics such as China's Belt and Road Initiative (OBOR), the world's evolving digital infrastructure competition, and the stakes for U.S. policy.
Ties with China appearing to be cooling among Eastern European countries, underscored by high-level visits to Taiwan, and increasing security cooperation with the U.S. on 5G, and spurred by a growing number of failed Belt and Road infrastructure projects, slowing Chinese investment, and growing national security concerns over China's expanding espionage operations, Nikkei reports.
President Xi Jinping recently floated the idea of creating a "health silk road" paralleling the Belt and Road, which could further China's "mask diplomacy" efforts to provide medical supplies abroad and portray itself as a provider of international public goods. However, experts note that disinformation efforts by Chinese officials about COVID-19 are prompting pushback and could hinder such efforts.
The political damage Chinese investment in the CEE has created for the EU is already visible in its inability to act cohesively vis-à-vis China on trademark foreign policy issues, namely upholding the international rule of law and protecting human rights.
At the onset of Beijing’s sixth 16+1 forum, China’s involvement with Central and Eastern Europe under the Belt and Road is beginning to take shape. Results on the ground have proven mixed so far, and a more nuanced local picture is slowly emerging; with some reasons for concerns but also much reassurance provided.
Beijing’s star is rising in central and eastern European nations,” reports the Financial Times
Our “Big Questions” series brings together leading scholars, former policymakers, and top industry experts to tackle critical questions. In the seventh part of this series, we asked a group of experts to comment on China's growing infrastructure investment in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).