Assessing China’s ‘16+1 Cooperation’ with Central and Eastern Europe: A Public Good Perspective



This chapter provides a systematic analysis of China’s cooperation with Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs) in the context of the One Belt, One Road Initiative. It argues that China’s cooperation with the CEECs is motivated by the desire to serve the mutual interests of the participatory states by providing public goods that foster international connectivity and cooperation. To achieve this goal, it is necessary to explore all of the available and potential opportunities and to overcome various obstacles, including the convergence and divergence of national interests, symmetry and asymmetry in state power, and internal and external challenges. This chapter considers three different principles, dominance, reciprocity and identity, which emanate from the three major IR theoretical approaches. It aims to interpret the process, results and implications of the 16+1 cooperation framework. The chapter first introduces the general context, central questions and main argument/thesis. It then defines the 16+1 cooperation as a public good and describes the analytical framework. China-CEECs cooperation in the 16+1 process is then analysed in terms of results, obstacles and challenges, and feedback from various sources. This process of international cooperation is further examined through the three different IR theoretical principles. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the theoretical implications of the analysis.


Central and Eastern Europe Chinese foreign policy Global public good One Belt One Road Sino-European Relations 


  1. Andornino, Giovanni B. 2017. The Belt and Road Initiative in China’s emerging grand strategy of connective leadership. China & World Economy 25(5): 4–22.Google Scholar
  2. Bachulska, Alicja, and Richard Q. Turcsányi. 2019. Behind the Huawei backlash in Poland and the Czech Republic. The Diplomat, 6 February. Accessed 25 May 2019.
  3. Bluhm, Richard, Axel Dreher, Andreas Fuchs, Bradley Parks, Austin Strange, and Michael Tierney. 2018. Connective financing: Chinese infrastructure projects and the diffusion of economic activity in developing countries. AidData Working Paper #64. Williamsburg, VA: AidData, A Research Lab at William & Mary.Google Scholar
  4. Bodansky, D. 2012. What’s in a concept? Global public goods, international law, and legitimacy. European Journal of International Law, 23(3), 651–668.Google Scholar
  5. Cui, Hongjian. 2016. Institutionalized cooperation has become the main trend of China-CEECs cooperation. China Institute of International Studies. Accessed 24 May 2019.
  6. European External Action Service (EEAS). 2018. Connecting Europe & Asia: The EU strategy. Accessed 1 April 2019.
  7. Goldstein, Joshua S., and Jon C.W. Pevehouse. 2014. International relations (10th ed.). London and New York: Pearson Education.Google Scholar
  8. Government of China. 2017. Big jump in Chinese tourists’ visit to the CEECs. In 21st Century Economic Report. Accessed 25 May 2019.
  9. Grieger, Gisela. 2016. One Belt, One Road (OBOR): China’s regional integration initiative. Briefing, European Parliamentary Research Service. Accessed 23 May 2019.
  10. International Task Force on Global Public Goods. 2006. Summary: Meeting global challenges: International cooperation in the national interest. Summary Report of the International Task Force on Global Public Goods. Accessed 18 March 2019.
  11. Ju, Weiwei. 2014. Commentary on speech by Hungarian ambassador to China. Chinese Journal of European Studies 1: 145–147.Google Scholar
  12. Kohlenberg, Paul J., and Nadine Godehardt. 2018. China’s global connectivity politics: On confidently dealing with Chinese initiatives. SWP Comment No. 17. German Institute for International and Security Affairs.Google Scholar
  13. Liu, Debin, and Zhen Yan. 2015. Engaging with globalisation: Chinese perspectives. Third World Quarterly 36(11): 2002–2022.Google Scholar
  14. Liu, Zuokui. 2018. The “16+1 Cooperation” under the “Belt and Road” initiative. In China’s relations with Central and Eastern Europe: From old comrades to new partners, ed. Weiqing Song, 29–47. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Martin, Nick. 2018. Report: EU countries to be straitjacketed by China’s New Silk Road. Deutsch Welle, 18 April. Accessed 25 May 2019.
  16. MFA of PR China. 2012. China’s twelve measures for promoting friendly cooperation with Central and Eastern European Countries, 26 April. Accessed 23 May 2019.
  17. MFA of PR China. 2015. The medium-term agenda for cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries, 24 November. Accessed 23 May 2019.
  18. MFA of PR China. 2017. 5-year outcome list of cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European countries, 28 November. Accessed 9 January 2019.
  19. Nye, Joseph. 2017. The Kindleberger trap. Project Syndicate, 9 January. Accessed 16 March 2019.
  20. Paper News. 2019. Fruitful results of China-CEECs regional governments cooperation. The Paper, 9 January. Accessed 23 May 2019.
  21. Pavlićević, Dragan. 2019. A power shift underway in Europe? China’s relationship with Central and Eastern Europe under the Belt and Road Initiative. In Mapping China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ Initiative, ed. Li Xing, 249–278. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  22. Song, Weiqing. 2018. China’s long march to Central and Eastern Europe. European Review 26(4): 755–766.Google Scholar
  23. Vangeli, Anastas. 2017. China’s engagement with the sixteen countries of Central, East and Southeast Europe under the Belt and Road Initiative. China & World Economy 25(5): 101–124.Google Scholar
  24. Wang, Yi. 2017. Moving forward with the guidance of Xi Jingping’s thought on foreign affairs. Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Accessed 13 March 2019.
  25. Wu, Zhicheng, and Jintong Li. 2014. Guoji Gonggong Chanpin de Zhongguo Shijiao yu Shijian (Supply of international public goods under Chinese perspective and its practice). Zhengzhixue Yanjiu (CASS Journal of Political Studies) 5: 111–124.Google Scholar
  26. Xi, Jingping. 2017. Full text of President Xi’s speech at opening of Belt and Road. Beijing Review, 1 May. Accessed 23 May 2019.
  27. Xinhua News Agency. 2012. China—Central and Eastern European countries cooperation secretariat for first Meeting of the National Coordinator, 6 September. Accessed 1 May 2019.
  28. Xinhua News Agency. 2018. Big increase in trade between China and the 16 CEECs in 2017, 1 June. Accessed 25 May 2018.
  29. Xu, Xiujun. 2017. Zhongguo Canyu Quanqiu Jinji Zhili de Lujin (China’s approach to participating in global economic governance). Guoji Wenti Yanjiu (Studies of International Issues) 6: 28–39.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MacauMacao S.A.R.China
  2. 2.Tongji UniversityShanghaiChina

Personalised recommendations