China recognises that there are worries about its cooperation with Central and Eastern European countries, but is not seeking to undermine the European Union, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Friday ahead of a leaders’ summit in Bulgaria.

Red flags flutter outside the Great Hall of the People before the second plenary session of the CPP

FILE PHOTO: Red flags flutter outside the Great Hall of the People before the second plenary session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Beijing, China March 8, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song

BEIJING: China recognises that there are worries about its cooperation with Central and Eastern European countries, but is not seeking to undermine the European Union, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Friday ahead of a leaders’ summit in Bulgaria.

China has courted central and eastern European states, including with annual summits, which has fed concern in Western European capitals that Beijing is seeking to divide the continent and complaints about Beijing’s push for control of joint investment projects.

Speaking as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang gets ready to go to this year’s “16+1” summit between China and Central and Eastern European countries in Sofia next week, Vice Foreign Minister Wang Chao said he was aware of the concerns, and gave assurances of China’s support for European integration.

“Certainly, there has been some worry recently in some European countries about the 16+1 cooperation,” Wang told a news briefing, adding that in central and eastern European this mechanism had been broadly welcomed.

“A unified, stable, prosperous EU is in line with China’s…

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