The policy of the People’s Republic of China towards Central and Eastern Europe in 2012-2020
In the second decade of the 21st century, the Middle Kingdom, which had huge financial surpluses, became the world’s largest exporter of money capital, which meant that investment policy became the main element of China’s foreign policy. In the case of Central and Eastern Europe, the 16+1 (17+1) format, containing both investment policy and soft power elements, has become the basic tool of the general policy of Middle Kingdom. This article aims to define the basic principles of China’s policy towards Central and Eastern Europe. For this purpose, the following general hypothesis was formulated: Chinese policy in Central and Eastern Europe consists of presenting the countries of this region with initiatives that do not go beyond the sphere of declarations and serve as a bargaining chip in relations with Germany, the country with the greatest potential in the European Union. The general hypothesis gives rise to detailed hypotheses that were verified in individual parts of the article with the use of the comparative method. The reasons most often mentioned in the literature on the subject, such as economic, cultural, social, and political differentiation of Central and Eastern European countries, legal barriers resulting from EU legislation, insufficient recognition of the region’s needs by the Chinese side and asymmetry of expectations of both parties, undoubtedly largely contribute to the lack of effective Sino-CEE cooperation. However, they cannot be considered decisive because similar problems occur wherever Chinese companies appear. However, in many regions of the world, despite these obstacles, mutual economic relations are more dynamic than in CEE. The reasons why the potential of the 16+1 (17+1) format has not been properly used can be found primarily in the context of German-Chinese relations.