Romania, along with Other Central & Eastern European Countries, sent Only Ministers instead of their Head of State or Government, to a long-delayed meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on February 10.

Only a day before the event, Chinese Diplomats were piling pressure on these capitals to send “higher-level representation,” a diplomat from one of these six countries told.

Economy Minister Claudiu Nasui represented Romania in this videoconference.

The “17+1” platform was created by Beijing in 2012 to build ties with 17 Central & Eastern European Countries. But it looked like the 11+1 on February 19, when half of the 12 EU National Leaders invited to the Club failed to show up and meet, Chinese President Xi Jinping in a videoconference.

“It’s a stinging diplomatic setback for President Xi, who had a first class ‘divide and rule’ card to play by offering to double China’s food imports from Eastern Europe over the next five years.”

The 17+1 format has traditionally been a forum for Beijing to press its influence in Eastern Europe by pledging investments associated with the Belt & Road Initiative, a giant infrastructure and transport project linking China to EU Markets. But President Xi broached some new territory on Tuesday.

Also Read: Romania wants to Terminate Belt & Road Project with China

In addition to his proposal to buy more food from the region, the Chinese President also vowed to improve customs procedures and raised the prospect of more Eastern Europeans (other than Serbians and Hungarians) receiving China’s Coronavirus Vaccines.

Author: Andrei Chirileasa
Editor’s note: The article reflects the author’s opinion only, and not necessarily the views of editorial opinion of Belt & Road News.