The rising superpower may confront some checks from its rivals in the Western Balkans this year – though probably not enough to significantly curb its regional ambitions.
The second year of the COVID pandemic has deeply transformed global relations. Major world powers underwent significant political and economic changes while learning to adapt to the new normal.
China is no exception: in 2021, its economy largely recovered from impeded growth in 2020, with year-on-year growth in the first quarter of 18.3 per cent after an abysmal -6.8 per cent in 2020.
Despite another hold-up at the end of the year, due to the ongoing pandemic, power shortages, real estate market uncertainties, and supply chain tailbacks, overall domestic product growth in 2021 was around 8 per cent, according to the World Bank and JP Morgan.