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China plays down Lithuania rift as Belt and Road Initiative investments rise in Central, Eastern Eur

Despite a welcome flurry of diplomacy, Washington still has no clear strategy for the region.


NDRC official says stabilising foreign investment and trade will remain an economic priority for China in 2022, and it will seek to build more infrastructure – on par with US and European standards – in belt and road countries.

Statement followed last week’s central economic work conference in Beijing, and as diplomatic ties with Lithuania have soured in recent weeks.

From January-October, China invested US$16.17 billion in 57 belt and road countries, including Kazakhstan, shown here. Photo: Reuters

China has shrugged off the trade implications of souring diplomatic ties with Lithuania and pressure from the United States, as a senior economic official pointed to strong engagement with Central and Eastern Europe.

“Although Lithuania has jumped out and sent a token of loyalty to the US, countries such as Croatia, Serbia and Hungary … they continue to proactively get closer with us without caring about [pressure from] the US,” said Ning Jizhe, deputy head of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s top economic planning agency.

Speaking at a forum on Saturday, Ning also argued that Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative has continued to make progress, despite alleged suppression and constraints by Washington.



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