Amid Espionage Concerns, Poland Reconsiders Its Relations With China

Amid Espionage Concerns, Poland Reconsiders Its Relations With China
A poster for the Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei on a high-rise building in Warsaw, Poland, May 23, 2018 (Photo by Natalie Skrzypczak for dpa via AP Images).

The high-profile arrests last month of a former Polish intelligence official and a Huawei executive in Poland have stoked an ongoing policy debate in Warsaw over how to calibrate its relationship with China. The 16+1 framework, which Beijing introduced in 2012 to promote engagement with Central and Eastern Europe, raised expectations among Polish officials for increased Chinese investment and trade ties. But those hopes have been slow to materialize, and in the meantime, national security concerns, primarily over espionage and Beijing’s long-term goals in the region, have grown. In an interview with WPR, Patrycja Pendrakowska, president of the board at the Poland-Asia Research Center in Warsaw, discusses the evolution of Poland’s approach to China.

World Politics Review: How has Poland’s relationship with China developed in recent years, particularly since the introduction of the 16+1 framework? What prompted leaders in Warsaw and Beijing to seek closer ties?

Patrycja Pendrakowska: Generally, Poland sees itself as a central hub for China’s expanding trade ties in Europe. There is also some indication that China views Poland as a gateway to Europe when it comes to expanding freight trade through railway connections and logistical hubs. For example, a rail link between Lodz, in central Poland, and the Chinese city of Chengdu was inaugurated in 2013. With funding from the European Union likely to decrease after 2020, when a new EU budget goes into effect, the Polish government is looking for new sources of investment, and it would like to internationalize Polish companies and introduce them to Asian markets.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.