The Unexpected Consequences of China’s Cooperation with Central and Eastern Europe

Emilian Kavalski

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The Central and East European (CEE) region is often overlooked in the conversations on contemporary geopolitics. Yet, owing to China’s growing relations in the CEE countries, the region has been subject to increasing international attention. By process tracing the development of the ‘17 + 1’ mechanism, this article offers a brief overview of Sino-CEE relations. Situated within the broader Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the ‘17 + 1’ has provided a unique regional arrangement for extending Chinese influence in the CEE countries. This article explores whether there is something else than the instrumental economic reasoning for the willingness of CEE countries to partner with China. The analysis detects three distinct (and not always complementary) strategic narratives, motivating the participation of CEE states in the ‘17 + 1’ mechanism. The study concludes with an enquiry on China’s preparedness to respond to such identity geopolitics not only in the CEE region but also throughout the vast expanse covered by the BRI initiative.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Belt and Road Initiative
  • China-CEE cooperation
  • China-EU relations
  • strategic narratives
  • ‘17 + 1’ mechanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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