Chinese will invest mainly in Balkan transit, energy

Monday, July 31, 2017

Subject

Chinese interest in the Western Balkans.

Significance

The chairman of the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress, Zhang Dejiang, paid a three-day visit to Serbia in mid-July. The trip, by China’s third-most-senior official, is the latest milestone in China’s deepening relationship with the Western Balkans.

Impacts

  • China’s penetration of the Western Balkans could challenge the EU’s preponderance and ability to steer the region towards liberal reform.
  • Beijing's huge economic clout also reduces Moscow's energy leverage, especially in states where China is building new energy infrastructure.
  • For better or worse, the economic dividend created by Chinese investment is helping to sustain the existing cadre of Balkan leaders.
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