Vastavam web: Annual summits between China and central and eastern European countries are beneficial to the European Union as a whole, the Chinese government’s told Bulgaria’s foreign minister, brushing off concern that Beijing is seeking to divide the continent. China has courted central and eastern European states, including with annual summits, which has unnerved Western European capitals who fear China wants to sow divisions in the bloc. Meeting Bulgaria’s deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva in Argentina, Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi said the “16+1” platform had had a positive effect on economic development, referring to China’s cooperation mechanism with those countries.
“The 16+1 cooperation and China-EU cooperation are not mutually exclusive,” China’s Foreign Ministry cited Wang as telling Zaharieva on Tuesday. “Objectively, it helps with the European integration process”. Zaharieva told Wang that Bulgaria will “enthusiastically welcome” Chinese leaders to attend the summit and that they are busy making preparations for it, according to China’s foreign ministry. Cooperation between China and central and eastern Europe does not affect China’s broader cooperation with the EU, she added.