Lithuania’s decision to opt out of the China-led 17+1 mechanism has laid bare participating countries’ frustrations. Apart from conducting relations bilaterally despite the existence of the platform, China has focused only on leaders in power, an approach that has backfired.
By using private companies to further the US’ geopolitical aims, the Trump administration is doing what it fears China will use Huawei to do. Moreover, forcing US tech firms to act against their commercial interests violates free market principles.
Concern over exploitative terms has, in many cases, turned sentiment against China’s ambitious infrastructure plan for developing countries, and alternative programmes have been launched. How will China respond?
Increased Chinese investment in Europe has set off alarm bells for those worried about seeing technology and production taken out of EU countries. China can still forge closer ties with Europe, but it will need to ease those concerns.