Mutual benefits from the cooperation between Poland and China

Although several frictions regarding issues between China and Lithuania over whether or not Taiwan should enjoy the status of a sovereign state, we must be consistent on adopting the principle that positive bilateral relationship between Poland and China are essential on a regional and macro-scale.

On a short-term perspective, the conflict between China and Lithuania will be maintained however on a long-term perspective, due to the importance of China in Central and Eastern Europe, this issue will be probably forgotten by authorities in Vilnius, which will make a step back. Authorities of Lithuania are provoking China regarding the question of Taiwan. Vilnius is also expecting to obtain a full support of European Union states regarding this issue, however due to recent frictions between among other Poland and Hungary versus European institutions, the principle of unity on the Taiwanese policy will be difficult to reach. The quasi-individual provocation of Lithuanian authorities will only increase the instability on the world map. The behavior of Lithuanian authorities led to the question whether Polish authorities would like to jeopardize its relations with the Chinese leadership. From my perspective, provocations in the current difficult world context is not a driver of the world stability.

According to the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zbigniew Rau, the Polish approach with both the mainland China and Taiwan is based on three realities: first, the recognition of China as being a great power; secondly, the recognition of the “One-China” principle; thirdly, the neutral approach of Poland toward Taiwanese issue. This echos with IPAM’s concern as how to  deal with EU-China relations.         

Poland will not discuss with Chinese authorities regarding Taiwanese issues, as Polish politicians are understanding the strategical position of China on the world political map. It is especially important when we think about the position of China in the world supply chain process. For this reason, as one of the quasi-unique head-of-state of European countries, the Polish president Andrzej Duda went to Beijing for the inauguration of the Winter Olympic Games in February 2022. The second European head-of-state present in Beijing was the Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg. President Duda wanted not only to show the respect of the Polish government toward the Chinese leadership but also to emphasize the role of Poland in international relations.

Polish authorities acknowledge the importance of China regarding the Polish economy. In 2021, trade between Poland and China increased significantly. Both exports and imports broke records. The value of trade between Poland and China is around EUR 38 billion, which represent an increase of 35.7 percent in comparison with 2020. The export of China to Poland increased by 37 percent and reached EUR 33.5 billion. Regarding Polish export to China, they increased by 28.3 percent and reached EUR 4.5 billion. As a result, Poland’s deficit in bilateral trade was also record-breaking – it exceeded EUR 29 billion (EUR 20 billion in 2020). China is the second main trading partner of Poland after Germany. It must be acknowledged that current Polish government are maintaining an ambiguous policy toward Germany, however its economic cooperation will be never threatened. A similar scenario may occur between Poland and China.

Polish authorities understand that Chinese authorities are close to the leadership of the Russian Federation. For this reason, by maintaining a good relationship with China, Poland will keep a high-profile partner in its discussion with Russia. First, the border area between Poland and Belarus. Secondly the unstable situation over Ukraine. These factors indicate that on a long-term perspective, healthy relations between Poland and China will be maintained, especially by omitting mistakes made by other CEE countries such as Lithuania. Maintaining stable and challenging relations mean also a non-risky behavior toward a war, which is the main wish of not only the Chinese and Polish, but also the World population.

Poland does not have necessarily to follow the European policy toward China. That is why Polish government is developing an original vision toward China, consequently unfollowing the American policy. It is undeniable that there will be some issues which led to some kind of misunderstanding especially regarding human rights, however European countries including Poland cannot be considered as human rights champions. China is not threatening the polish sovereignty, especially in the context of harsh relations between Poland and the EU. Both countries are only trying to maintain relations which will be mutually profitable and foremost for the population and global peace.

The nature of relations between Poland and China are especially important in the context of world challenges. Both countries are important on different geographical levels. Poland is the most dynamic country in terms of GDP growth in Europe. China has an unquestionable position on the World economy. The geographic localization of Poland, centrally located between Russia and Germany, is important for China as it may be a buffer zone between western and eastern influences. That is why Poland has the best geopolitical location for the Chinese leadership. Their mutual cooperation will be beneficial not only for themselves but also on a broader perspective especially on the ground of the European Union. This is especially true in the context of global challenges like climate issues and global economy in a post-COVID world.

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