Harvey Morris, China Daily
Italian President Sergio Mattarella and French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve this week became the latest European leaders to beat a path to Beijing, carrying messages in support of globalization and against a protectionist revival favored by "certain populists".
More are expected to follow this year when President Xi Jinping hosts a forum on the China-led Belt and Road Initiative (the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road). ...
A paper published by Singapore's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies last March asked whether the EU had already missed the Belt and Road train. It cited different perspectives and viewpoints among European capitals and the lack of a common EU voice on China's plans.
"The EU population is still not well aware of the OBOR (One Belt, One Road) initiative," according to the authors of the paper. They also criticized the European media for being too focused on Chinese mergers and acquisitions, rather than analyzing the benefits of a long-term relationship based on a better understanding of reciprocal values and interests.
The paper also suggested China needed to update its public diplomacy on the Belt and Road Initiative to help build confidence among Europeans. The May forum should provide a platform for China's leaders to do just that.