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International relations

Eastern Europe ends love fest with China amid Beijing-EU rift

Xi rushes to win back Slovenia, Lithuania and others as US makes rival overtures

Top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi, right, and Foreign Minister Wang Yi: Beijing has stepped up overtures to central and eastern Europe as ties cool.   © Reuters

VIENNA/BEIJING -- Enthusiasm for China has cooled in much of central and eastern Europe, leaving Beijing alarmed as human rights concerns and stalled investments push disillusioned partners toward the U.S.

Politburo member Yang Jiechi, China's top diplomat, met with Slovenian President Borut Pahor on Wednesday during a visit to the country. The two called for stronger relations between China and the European Union and for regular Brussels-Beijing dialogues, according to the president's office. Yang traveled to Croatia the following day to speak with Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic.

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