Australian media article: China does not intend to use the "16 + 1" mechanism to divide the European Reference News Network September 16 Report Australian East Asia Forum website recently published the Bratislava Institute of Asian Studies project director, assistant professor Richard Tulcani Mendel University article "China Raises its Flag in Central and Eastern Europe" Since its inception in 2012, the 16 + 1 forum between China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries, led by the Chinese side, has been accused from time to time of undermining the unity of the European Union in Western Europe, and some seem worried that China will use its economic role in the region (partly through the 16 + 1 forum) to gain political support, it said. . Economically, however, the region is far less dependent on China than on the rest of the EU.
The article said that since the launch of the "16 + 1" forum, China's economic power in Central and Eastern Europe has not significantly increased. China accounts for less than 1% of the total FDI in Central and Eastern Europe, and more than 90% of China's direct investment in the EU goes to Western Europe.
In fact, most of the Central and Eastern European exports to China are imported and re-exported from other EU countries as part of the regional and global value chains, while direct exports are almost entirely carried out by enterprises. Bilateral and regional political initiatives are unlikely to have an impact on these two trade channels.
The article argues that the argument that China is "splitting Europe" with the "16 + 1" forum is totally not obvious. China lacks the economic clout to do so in the region, and there is little convincing evidence that it has scored "points" in favor of pushing the EU vote through the "16 + 1" forum.
The article said that the "16 + 1" forum neither constitutes the economic recovery of China's relations with Central and Eastern Europe, nor is it an attempt to "divide and rule" the EU. The "16 + 1" forum is just to "raise China's flag" in the region, which may help to strengthen China's soft power and perhaps create a more friendly soil for future needs.
In other words, China wants to be recognized in Central and Eastern Europe, but its actual role may be limited in terms of economic, military or political impact than many believe, the article said.
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