Adrian Năstase, former Romanian Prime Minister: Accusing China of 'economic coercion' a badge of honor for BRI


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Adrian Năstase, former Romanian Prime Minister: Accusing China of 'economic coercion' a badge of honor for BRI


Source: CGTN    Published: 2023-05-25

Recently, the China-U.S. relationship has witnessed ups and downs, with the latter putting sanctions on China and accusing China of economic coercion. What are the goals of the U.S.'s actions against China? How will it influence the global geopolitical layout? Adrian Năstase, former Romanian Prime Minister, shared his views on these topics.

CGTN: The U.S. has been implementing sanctions on sectors like technology and business. Why would the U.S. do that? Will it work?

Adrian Năstase: The Americans want to limit the speed of China's development. They try to slow down, as much as possible, some of the dynamic evolutions in some strategic sectors.

It won't help because in the end, in one way or another, those developments will get the necessary results not only in China, but also in terms of trade with other countries.

CGTN: U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen implied the Belt and Road Initiative is a "debt trap" for developing countries and said at a press conference recently that she was concerned about China's "economic coercion." The U.S. and its allies are keen on putting tags on China. What's your take on this?

Adrian Năstase: In my opinion, this is a compliment to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). It is a way of saying this (the BRI) is too successful.

When China tries to get some counterbalance measures, they say that there is "economic coercion." But of course, the countries which are receiving the credits or are signing the projects have to be aware that this is not for free; these are economic projects and they have to be paid back. So, one or two examples out of several hundreds which have been successful cannot be taken seriously as a reason to talk about "economic coercion." And by the way, in some cases, the United States through the IMF or the World Bank did real pressure on some other countries. And I know some examples of that.

I know from our experience in Romania that in some cases, the Americans used what we have called democratic conditionality in the sense that you don't get the necessary support because you have black hair, for instance.

This is a way to block different things to put someone on the corner without real reasons. And that's why human rights (and) minority rights were the tools used by the Americans in some cases in Eastern Europe. At least you can find a lot of examples of this kind.

I'm sure that China will allow people to go there to see exactly what is happening. This is what we have done when we have been criticized for this kind of thing. But these are the main subjects used by the Americans in some cases, obviously, human rights, minority rights, state of law, justice, corruption, and so on and so forth.

CGTN: Since last November, leaders of European countries and from EU institutions have visited China frequently, while the U.S. has pressured Europe to distance itself from China. How should Europe balance its ties with China and the U.S.?

Adrian Năstase: Europe is in a difficult position due to the Ukraine conflict because of the fact that a lot of resources and a lot of energy from Europe are driven to Ukraine to support a certain American strategy.

This is, unfortunately, very painful for the Europeans. That's why most of them would like the conflict in Ukraine to be stopped. The Americans on the other side would like Russia to bleed, (and) would like to have this kind of proxy war. Of course, Europe is in a very difficult situation; I hope they will understand that in terms of relations with China, Europe should develop its own strategy.

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