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In the midst of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the Chinese delegation went to 8 European countries

This is the first Chinese diplomatic mission to the region since Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine on February 24.

The countries visited by the Chinese delegation include the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia and Poland.

The visit comes against the backdrop of China’s “17+1” platform, a decades-long effort to build ties with 17 Central and Eastern European countries thwarted after Lithuania became the first country in the world. withdraw from this system.

In the midst of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the Chinese delegation went to 8 European countries - 1

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang attended the summit between China and Central and Eastern European countries. (Photo: The Diplomat)

Justyna Szczudlik, China analyst from the Polish Institute of International Affairs, said that this visit of the Chinese officials will be a “damage control” trip in the context of the Chinese and Chinese countries. Eastern Europe is deeply frustrated by Beijing’s stance on Russia’s military campaign.

According to this expert, the countries of the former Soviet Union, which have long been concerned about the increasingly tight relationship between Moscow and Beijing, have become increasingly skeptical when China avoids condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Wang Yiwei, a professor of European studies at Renmin University in Beijing, said the visit was “timely and necessary” as China needed to clarify its position on the Ukraine conflict. .

“First, China needs to clarify what the Sino-Russian relationship exactly is. Second, China and Russia are different countries. Third, China’s position on the Russia-Ukraine conflict is how”Mr. Wang said.

Since Russia launched its military campaign in Ukraine, countries in the Baltics and Central Europe have pushed for harsher sanctions against Russia. Some countries such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia and Latvia send aid to Kiev.

Poland, which shares a 530 km border with Ukraine, became NATO’s center of support for Kiev.

According to Wang, the Baltic states as well as the countries of Central and Eastern Europe believe that an “unlimited” partnership means an alliance between Russia and China and Beijing is backing Moscow.

As the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues, China seems to realize that the region’s assessment of it is deteriorating, Szczudlik said.

“The Chinese delegation will try to convince the Central and Eastern European countries that there is still room for cooperation and that the 16+1 forum is still relevant.” Szczudlik said.

But this expert said that this will not be an easy task for the Chinese group of officials because the departure of Lithuania has plunged the mechanism into a deep crisis.

“China’s endorsement of Russia could bring the format to a standstill or even put an end to the format.” this man added.

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