LISD Convenes Colloquium on China in Europe


The Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination at Princeton University convened a private colloquium on “China in Europe: Chinese Interests from Lisbon to Vladivostok,” in Triesenberg, Principality of Liechtenstein, on August 17-20, 2017. The meeting brought together senior governmental officials, think tank representatives, academics, diplomats and civil society representatives from China, the European Union, EurAsia, and the United States. The colloquium was hosted in the style of a Princeton seminar, whereby all participants were encouraged to participate actively throughout the meeting in order to discuss the future of China and European relations and foster greater understanding. The meeting was the first of a planned LCM series focusing on China’s relations with the wider European community and was chaired by Wolfgang Danspeckgruber, Founding Director of LISD.

The first Working Session, “Chinese Relations with Europe: A Historic Perspective,” focused on the historical legacy of Chinese and European relations and new avenues for increased cooperation between the EU and China regarding international institutions, crisis management, business developments, and bilateral political relations. It was highlighted in this sessionthat cooperative crisis diplomacy in the wider European neighborhood represents a heretofore unaddressed area of potential to increase cooperation between China and the EU.

This conversation continued in Working Session II, “One Belt, One Road Project,” during which participants focused on China’s ongoing infrastructure expansion project unveiled by PRC President Xi Jinping in 2013 to foster greater economic connectivity and cooperation with the Eurasian area. Much of the concerns with “One Road, One Belt” involved systematic asymmetry, whereby a top-down Chinese governmental structure seems to enable the Chinese government to give China a competitive advantage in the investment market. Obviously, the project is still very much in development and today it remains unclear how many of the planned European terminus points will actually be constructed due to logistical (and political) complexities. In the long run, the initiative’s potential for success continues to grow given that the increased connection between the EU and China would likely benefit mutual relations and situations.

In the evening, members of the Liechtenstein Colloquium were officially received by H.S.H. Prince Hans Adam II, The Reigning Prince of Liechtenstein, and H.S.H. Prince Alois, The Hereditary Prince of Liechtenstein, at the Schloss Vaduz (Vaduz Castle), featuring remarks from their Serene Highnesses to the colloquium participants.

The Third Working Session on “China’s Presence in Europe,” connected earlier conversations of China’s history with a developing view of future relations. It became clear that differing perspectives exist between those who invest and those who receive investment, and that sometimes such differences seem to be deliberately encouraged by third parties. Also, this session found that apparently China does see Europe and the European Union with a continuing interest to deal with nation states. Participants discussed the nature of China’s economic involvement in European infra-structure projects and the political evaluation of this, as well as China’s increasing influence in Siberia, Central Asia, and the Arctic. Given a more regional approach, participants addressed the currently positive relations between China and Russia and this potential for fostering world peace and global development.

The final Working Session, “The Way Forward,” looked at the future of EU-China relations, including constructive ideas for future cooperation. It was noted that Africa is an important region for increased China-European cooperation, and that the EU and China should cooperate with the United States to share the burden of international leadership and guidance moving forward. The crafting of more equal trade agreements facilitating increased European access to the Chinese market might be a way of assuaging European concerns in a mutually beneficial manner.

After a refreshing walk into the Liechtenstein Mountains, the colloquium finished with the emphasis on positive, intensifying, and encouraging prospects for future interaction and research, and addressing potentially diverging perceptions. Participants discussed the impact of a changing global order. It was generally agreed that new regulations, rules and laws, and international institutions and organizations, will need to adapt to modern Chinese and European interactions. Stakeholders should take more opportunities to foster positive change, and those interested in mutual growth should focus on bilateral and trilateral agreements as well as new perspectives on these issues through continued interaction.

Colloquium Participants included Prof. Thomas Christensen, William Boswell Professor at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and Co-Chair, Harvard-Princeton “China and the World Program,” and former. Dept. Assistant Secretary of State, Chinese Affairs; Dr. Hongjian Cui, Research Scholar at the China Institute for International Studies. Amb. Yanping Gao, Consul General of China in Zurich, Switzerland and for the Principality of Liechtenstein; Amb. Hans-Dietmar Schweisgut, Ambassador of the European Union to the People's Republic of China and Mongolia; Amb. Mohammad Naeem Poyesh, Chargé d'Affaires, Embassy and Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the OSCE; Christopher Nixon Cox, Co-founder, OC Global Partners, LLC; Ahmad Al-Hamad, former Kuwait Chinese Investment Corp and Asiya Investments, Kuwait, London;  Rita Kieber-Beck, Head of Kieber-Beck Treuhand Liechtenstein, frmr deputy Head of Government and Foreign Minister of Liechtenstein; James Gow, King's College London, Department of War Studies; Knut Hammarskjöld, President, Ellipsis Human Identity Technologies; Dr. Andreas Insam, CEO of Bendura Bank AG; Christian Bahoo, Former Foreign Affairs Advisor for the Deputy Federal Chancellor and Minister of Trade, Science and Education of the Republic of Austria; Alexander Heckscher, Esq., Hong Kong; Dr. Peter Krenn, Director of Institutional Clients and Deputy Head of Eastern Europe, Bendura Bank AG; Lachlyn Soper-Lembke, Foreign Service Officer, U.S. Department of State; James Kynge, Emerging Markets Editor, The Financial Times; Prof. Sophie Meunier, Co-director, European Union Program, Princeton University; Hermine Schreiberhuber, Journalist and Author; Michael Schoenleber, Baron Associates LLC; Mr. Dennis Sammut, Executive Director LINKS (Dialogue–Analysis–Research); Thomas Seifert, Editor, Wiener Zeitung, Vienna, Austria; and Ms. Carol Wang, Tax Associate, Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

A Chair’s Summary of this colloquium is forthcoming from the Institute.