Economy beats ideology in Sino-Czech ties

Source:Global Times Published: 2016-3-29 0:33:01

Chinese President Xi Jinping embarked on a two-day visit to the Czech Republic Monday, indicating the country has become one of the most important partners of China in Central and Eastern Europe. With the drastic changes in Eastern Europe since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Czech Republic had been a prominent criticizer of China, taking a hostile stance on the issues of the Dalai Lama and human rights. Today's bilateral relationship is completely different.

More than one country in Central and Eastern Europe has adjusted its ties with Beijing, with Poland being another example. The relationship with China overcame ideological differences and embarked on a more friendly path after the Lech Kaczynski era.

Sino-Czech cooperation, based on mutual national interests, may still be reversed. With a long geographic distance between the two countries, the Czech Republic has little strategic reliance on China. Plus, Prague is a member of the EU and NATO, so there is no systematic guarantee of friendly ties between the two.

International relations change with the times. Several nations in Europe have diverted their attention from ideology to national interests in their ties with China. While foreign relations may still swing, economic interests are carrying more weight than ideology in deciding relationships between countries.

Thus, the China-Europe relationship, epitomized by improving Sino-Czech ties, has entered into the best period in history. Despite the tough but increasingly insignificant public opinion against China, European politicians will focus more on improving cooperation with Beijing.

Currently, China's main diplomatic challenges are centered on the Asia-Pacific region, where geopolitics, rather than ideology, plays a dominant role in foreign relations.

China's economic appeal is the key to breaking Europe's ideological iron curtain. Many European countries have adjusted their China policies as cooperation brings more benefits than ideological confrontation.

It is the easiest and safest way for the European countries to act based on their ideology and values. Given huge China-Europe political divergences, the two sides need to strengthen and solidify their economic ties, which are the most reliable in their relationship at this time.

Healthy economic development is the key for China to sort out many of its domestic and international issues. We must maintain our developmental advantages, which is a prerequisite to China's growing international appeal, and to its citizens' confidence.

The changes in the Czech Republic's China policy are thought-provoking. China has injected the largest impetus into the changing era. The most crucial task is to maintain such impetus.

Posted in: Editorial

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