On 1 February, Clingendael welcomed Raoul Bunskoek as the new leader of the Clingendael China Centre (CCC), the institute's China knowledge hub. Bunskoek succeeds Ingrid d'Hooghe, who had been interim leader since September 2022. She remains Senior Research Fellow at the institute and the Clingendael China Centre.
Bunskoek was previously a Senior Research Fellow at the European Research Council’s ‘Africa’s Infrastructure Globalities’ (INFRAGLOB) project, located at the University of Bayreuth, Germany. His research included the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative and China's foreign policy, including Chinese development practices in Africa.
In the academic world, there was little room to actively engage in how the Netherlands and Europe should relate to China, Bunskoek explains. ‘’Therefore, I look very much forward to having a lot of contact with policymakers in my role as CCC leader. This position offers me the opportunity, together with a highly motivated and knowledgeable team, to form the very bridge between the research world and the policy world.’’
Bunskoek holds PhD and MA degrees in Political Science and International Relations from National Taiwan University, and a BA in Chinese Studies from Leiden University. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese.
With Bunskoek at the helm, the CCC continues to focus on China's influence and the tensions between the US and China. Additionally, there will be more emphasis on the China-Africa relationship. ‘’Over the past four years, I have been working on the influence and role of Chinese companies in African countries and how Dutch and European companies can respond to this. I will take that knowledge into future research at the CCC.’’
Both policymakers and people in business contribute to the Clingedael China Centre with various insights on key strategic choices regarding their relationship with China. In addition, the CCC facilitates public debate in the Netherlands and Europe on China.