Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Polish and Pakistani leaders on Sunday in a whirlwind of diplomacy on the sidelines of the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Xi told President Andrzej Duda that China was seeking to further improve its relations with Poland, whose warm relations with Beijing have not gone down well with the main rival, the United States.
Poland was the only European Union country to send an elected leader to the Games despite a diplomatic boycott led by the United States. The meeting also comes amid concerns over a Russian attack on Ukraine, with which NATO member Poland shares a long border.
Xi, who has not left China since 2019, has met with several world leaders in recent days, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, with whom China is building a closer informal alliance.
The meetings highlight Xi’s steps to elevate himself to a major player in global diplomacy, while positioning China’s authoritarian one-party political model as an alternative to the long-dominant liberal world order led by the Chinese. United States.
Xi told Duda that the two countries should “respect and reconcile each other’s core interests and major concerns”, the Communist Party newspaper Global Times reported.
In addition to strengthening communication on “major international issues”, they should “exploit the potential of their economies, trade and investment, transport and logistics, and high and new technologies, and bring cooperation bilateral practice to a new level,” Xi said.
He said China is ready to actively participate in building a logistics hub in Poland and help Poland become a key node in the China-Europe supply chain.
No statement was immediately available from Duda. However, in Warsaw, his foreign policy adviser Jakub Kumoch said Poland wanted “the best possible relations with China and we can see similar interest from the Chinese side.”
Poland, along with Hungary and Serbia, has been seen as one of China’s backdoors to Europe. Beijing’s unconditional support contrasts with Washington’s expressions of concern over the growing autocratic rule of Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
Poland is part of a Chinese initiative to nurture relations with Central and Eastern European governments, known as the China-CEEC Group, as well as Xi’s “Belt and Road” campaign to build infrastructure connecting China to Europe and beyond.
In addition to causing unease in Washington, China’s moves have raised fears in France, Germany and other Western European governments that Beijing is trying to make political inroads into the European Union.
The Polish president has a role to play in shaping Poland’s foreign relations, but is not the main policy maker.
In a separate meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan, Xi pledged to cooperate more closely under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Investment Program to build roads, power plants and other infrastructure.
He said China was willing to join forces with its longtime ally to “build a closer Chinese-Pakistani community with a shared future in the new era,” the Global Times reported.
“The strategic relationship between China and Pakistan is of paramount importance in a changing world,” Xi said.
“China upholds fairness and justice in international affairs. China is willing to strengthen coordination and cooperation with Pakistan in multilateral fora such as the UN and promote global and regional justice and peace,” Xi said.