Dragon Diplomacy in Europe: Ambitions Unmatched? The International Round Table on How China Wins Over Europe with Economic Tools

On February 4, 2022, at the summit of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China, the Russian and Chinese leaders came up with a Joint Statement on International Relations Entering a New Era and Global Sustainable Development. A number of provisions of the statement, in particular, concerning China’s support for the position of the Russian Federation on preventing NATO expansion, as well as other condemning calls for the United States, have provoked a discussion about whether we actually see a serious strategic alignment of the positions of these two countries in their confrontation with the “collective West” and the United States in particular.

However, a number of analysts are still convinced that there are significant objective limits for complete synchronization of this tandem’s actions in confrontation with the transatlantic community, the main of which is a significant economic imbalance in Russian-Chinese cooperation and the clear priority for China of its economic relations with European countries (the EU remains one of China’s main trading partners against only 2% of trade with Russia in China’s overall foreign trade).

But to what extent is China a safe strategic economic partner for Europe? In February 2019 the analytical report of the Munich Security Conference, among other things, pointed to an alarming trend of the increasing dependence of European countries on Chinese public loans and debt arising from this relationship. This phenomenon is known as a “debt-trap diplomacy”, and usually is accompanied by the use of economic levers of influence, including for political gains.

Already in February 2021, Lithuania officially announced its withdrawal from the “17 + 1” format of China’s cooperation with the CEE countries, claiming that this regional initiative undermines the unity of the EU and has not shown a significant economic effect.

Since then, a number of studies have been undertaken on the forms and methods of Chinese economic diplomacy in European countries, as well as its performance. The findings illustrate the uneven effect and complications of Chinese economic projects in various European countries.

  • What is a performance of China’s economic cooperation with European countries?
  • To what extent could China be satisfied / dissatisfied with its results, so that it may force to drive potential changes in the focus of China’s foreign policy and encourages its gravitation to Russia?
  • Can we talk about “Dragon Diplomacy” and China’s economic expansion in European countries as a softer kind of hybrid war to increase its influence in the region?
  • How does the United States perceive this geopolitical game of China in Europe?
  • How vulnerable are European countries to China’s strategy, and what safeguards are being used?
  • Is there a differentiation of the strategy and tools of “Dragon Diplomacy” for different European countries?
  • Are there prospects for the formation of a common strategy of the countries in the region in relation to
  • China (at the EU level, in CEE formats), or is each country developing its own way to counter potential risks?
  • Is Ukraine a “special case” for China in the region?
  • What should Ukraine take into attention from the experience of C countries, while formulating its strategy towards China?
  • How feasible is the synchronization of policies of Ukraine, the CEE countries and the EU towards China?

These and other questions will be discussed at the International Round Table, “Dragon Diplomacy in Europe:
Ambitions Unmatched? How China Wins Over Europe with Economic Tools”, which will be held by the Eastern
Europe Security Institute on March 3, 2022, from 16.00 to 18.00 Kyiv time in the zoom-conference format.

The discussion of these issues will be based on the presentation of research on the forms and methods of the
Chinese economic strategy in Poland, the Western Balkans, the Baltic countries (with a special focus on Lithuania)
and in Ukraine. In addition, the discussion will cover research on the position of the US and the policy of Biden
Administration with regard to China’s presence in Europe.

These studies are part of the project to develop cooperation networks among European think tanks,
implemented with the support of the European Union and the International Renaissance Foundation within the
framework of the EU4USociety project. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not
necessarily reflect the views of the European Union and the International Renaissance Foundation.


  • Anatolii PINCHUK – Head of Board of the Eastern Europe Security Institute (Introductory Remarks)
  • Jerzy NOVAKOWSKI – President of the Euro-Atlantic Association of Poland, former Ambassador of Poland to Armenia and Latvia, Professor at the University of Warsaw
  • Professor Adam W. JELONEK – Director of the Middle East Institute at the Jagiellonian University, former Ambassador of Poland to Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines
  • Antun DUJMOVIC – Senior Associate, Institute for Development and International Relations (Croatia)
  • Marius LAURINAVICUS – Independent expert on security and international relations, former analyst at the Center for Eastern European Studies, the European Center for Political Analysis and the Vilnius Institute for Political Analysis (Lithuania)
  • Darren SPINCK – Managing Partner (geopolitical analytical projects), Washington Consulting Solutions (USA)
  • luliia OSMOLOVSKA – Executive Director, Eastern Europe Security Institute (Ukraine)

The event will be moderated by the Eastern Europe Institute (in English, synchronically translated into Ukrainian)

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