BEIJING: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi started a weeklong tour of three Eastern European nations on Sunday.

According to Zhao Junjie, China-EU relations analyst from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Wang’s visit to Poland was to gather support from Slovakia and Hungary for the Belt and Road Initiative.

Zhao Wang’s trip could help strengthen China’s foothold within Europe.  As per the analyst, Eastern European nations sometimes felt neglected by major European countries such as Germany.

“Now is a tricky time for Beijing, as Europe is going to change its top leaders, who might be more assertive against Beijing’s policies such as the Belt and Road Initiative,” Zhao said.

Wang’s visit to Poland, Slovakia and Hungary will include the second plenary session of the China-Poland Intergovernmental Cooperation Committee and the second China-Hungary belt and road working group meetings, according to China’s foreign ministry.

In 2011, China set up the 16+1 initiative, an effort to improve economic cooperation with Central and Eastern European countries, including non-EU members.

Source: South China Morning Post