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Andrzej Duda's visit mainly helps China. This is a complete acceptance of Chinese principles and interests – expert for tvn24.pl

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What Andrzej Duda did was to completely adopt Chinese principles and interests, speaking the language of Beijing. As a result, he is perceived throughout Europe as a pro-Chinese president – the ongoing visit of the Polish president to China is assessed by an expert, Dr. Alicja Bachulska. As she stated in an interview with tvn24.pl, Andrzej Duda's rhetoric during this trip “is completely detached from the current reality in the world”, and “a visit like that of the Polish president mainly helps China.”

President Andrzej Duda arrived in China with a long, five-day visit, during which he met with the highest Chinese leaders, and also visits the most important Chinese cities from Poland's point of view. Andrzej Duda is paying an official state visit to the world's second largest economy for the third time, but for the first time in new circumstances. From the beginning of the full-scale invasion Russia on Ukraine in February 2022, China showed more clearly than ever that it is its closest and most important ally Vladimir Putin. And according to experts, criminal Russian aggression on such a scale would not be possible without Beijing's support.

So is it a good time for the Polish president to visit China? Does this visit have a chance to improve Polish security or strengthen the economy? What has Poland gained in relations with China since Andrzej Duda visited this country for the first time 9 years ago? In an interview with tvn24.pl, Dr. explains this. Alicja Bachulska, China expert at the European Council of Foreign Relations.

During President Andrzej Duda's visit to China, several new agreements were announced, and China also announced the unilateral abolition of short-term visas. So a success?

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I am afraid that all these agreements are very ceremonial and in practice they change almost nothing in Polish-Chinese relations.

Well, visas, there was also an agreement on the export of Polish poultry…

The president's official rhetoric showed that the main goals were economic issues and the fight against the Polish trade deficit in relations with China. But these agreements do not translate into a structural change in terms of the deficit, its shape or size.

Moreover, looking at trade, Poland has a chance to be an important partner of China only in the field of agricultural products. The question is whether we want to be only such a partner or also have relations with China in the field of, for example, technology or security policy.

SEE ALSO: China abolishes short-term visas for Poles

Andrzej Duda announced that he would also talk to Fr Belarus and Russia, presented our position to China and explained how important these two countries are for the security of land routes connecting them with Europe.

But did anything come of it? After the meeting with Xi Jinping, Andrzej Duda only said that he presented Poland's position on this matter: “China acts in its own way, we do not interfere in China's position.” This means that Poland presented its position, China listened to it and did not change its position.

However, during President Duda's visit, there was not a single sentence about the fact that we see Chinese support for Russia, or that we see the threats that China poses to the West and Western democracies.

What should look different in the Polish president's visit to China?

First of all, Andrzej Duda continues to talk about cooperation with China as he did in 2015, as if nothing had changed in the world since then. His rhetoric about traditional friendship and the alleged connection of the world through China's New Silk Road is completely disconnected from the current reality in the world, structural, strategic and political problems.

It is incomprehensible to me that so little is said about it in Poland, that the current situation related to… war in Ukraine does not translate into Poland's political ambitions in the international arena. The Polish president talked about explaining to China how security problems in Eastern Europe allegedly negatively affect China's land connections with Europe. Meanwhile, for China, these connections are of marginal importance, and the generation of hybrid threats on our eastern border – i.e. the eastern flank FOR THIS – is entirely in China's interest. For Beijing, as for Moscow, this is a way to weaken the Alliance, divide it and distract global attention USA.

Moreover, Poland is now tightening relations with China in the event of an escalation of the situation around Taiwan or a possible return to the office of US president by Donald Trump may prove problematic for us in relations with Brussels or Washington.

So it's bad that the Polish president visited China at all? However, it is the world's second superpower and it seems a bad idea to isolate ourselves from it.

Yes, the idea of ​​maintaining relations with China is good, but without the Polish narrative, it would be as if nothing was happening in the world. I analyze this visit primarily through the prism of what it looks like in the context of China's relations with the European Union.

In Poland, we must realize that Poland is an important EU country, but at the same time relatively too small to have unilateral tools to influence China…

It sounds quite cruel, but for many people it is difficult to swallow that Poland is too weak for its own foreign policy towards China…

But it's not just about Poland – Germany and France are just as weak for this. Therefore, our only way to have tools to conduct policy towards China is to act together within the EU and create a clear, coherent EU eastern policy. The EU has many tools of pressure in foreign policy that are unavailable to its individual members, but their use would require clear political will.

Poland should emphasize the links between the foreign policies of Russia and China as much as possible in the EU, I don't know how great idealists our political elites must be that they do not notice this. And this is not only about political or security issues, but also about trade issues, about tariffs on Chinese electric cars, about counteracting Chinese subsidies, and about jointly opposing Chinese pressure on individual member states.

Secondly, it is necessary to change the rhetoric used by the Polish president. What Andrzej Duda did was to completely adopt Chinese principles and interests, speaking the language of Beijing. As a result, Andrzej Duda is perceived throughout Europe as a pro-China president, and this is probably not the point. Some even claim that Andrzej Duda's good relations with China are intended to translate into Beijing's support for him in running for a high international position after the end of his second term.

SEE ALSO: CNN on the scale of China's assistance in arming Russia. “They fill critical gaps”

Maybe it's simply about using friendly language to curry favor with China and achieve commercial goals?

But it doesn't do us any good. And for example Emmanuel Macronwho also recently met with Xi Jinping, was much more assertive and able to point out Chinese behavior and policies, and yet his visit also ended with the signing of a number of agreements with China.

Meanwhile, a visit like that of the Polish president mainly helps China. Andrzej Duda legitimizes Xi Jinping with his “friendly” visit, shows that he is a world-respected leader with whom Europeans talk, and in terms of propaganda it is a significant success for Beijing.

SEE ALSO: Duda after meeting with the Chinese leader. “Mr. President calls me a friend”

Does China achieve anything else with the visit of the Polish president?

They can count on Poland to influence EU policy from within in such a way that the consensus built at the European level will be less radical towards China.

If you were to sum up the last 9 years of Polish-Chinese relations, built by Andrzej Duda, in one sentence?

In 2016, Andrzej Duda and Xi Jinping they ate Polish apples, announcing the wide opening of the Chinese market to these fruits. This is the best symbol: because there was a lot of talk about Polish apples in China, but they are not there anyway.

SEE ALSO: The president presented state awards in Beijing

Main photo source: PAP/EPA/PEDRO PARDO

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