Russia and China – forward to a brighter future?

On May 29, the international conference “Russia and China: a new partnership in a changing world” was held under the auspices of the RIAC and the Institute of the Far East of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The question that ran through the plenary sessions, expert consultations and the general discussion of the participants of the event was a red line – what will be the future of Russian-Chinese relations?

Vladimir Portyanki, Deputy Director of the IFES RAS, Alexei Voskresensky, Dean of the Faculty of Political Science at MGIMO, Sergey Kulik shared their expert view on this issue, the problem of technological cooperation between Moscow and Beijing, as well as how the countries of Southeast Asia perceive the new image of Russian-Chinese partnership with the RIAC. , Director for International Development of the Foundation “Institute of Contemporary Development” and Dmitry Mosyakov, Deputy Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Vladimir Portyanki: The discussion about linking the Great Silk Road with EAEU projects is already underway. Many Russian experts somehow too quickly, in my opinion, refocused on the full support of this decision. It must be seen that these are projects of a completely different scale. Today, Li Yangquan began his speech by saying that the Great Silk Road is China’s development strategy, and joining it – and if so, in what form – is already your choice.

The fact that the question of conjugation was raised is correct, because there are geographically intersecting zones. But the Eurasian Economic Union is much smaller geographically. Therefore, even conjugation solves only part of the problems of China’s development within the framework of this concept.

But other areas of cooperation on the project are also planned. It was proposed to create a corridor Russia – Mongolia, Northeast China – the Far East of Russia. Cooperation on this project is multifaceted, and I would like to draw attention to the agreement signed by Putin and Xi Jinping. It says very carefully: “Let’s start negotiations, explore the possibilities.”

We have been burned many times on joint projects, for example, the bridge, the agreement on the construction of which was signed 20 years ago – in 1995, has not yet been built. Therefore, it is still unclear how things will go. One thing is for sure – our connection to the opportunities provided by the Great Silk Road project opens the door for Siberian producers to the world market.

The future of Russian-Chinese relations depends on how proactively, skillfully and successfully we can use the opportunities and defend our interests in this cooperation and ensure the stable development of our country.

Alexei Voskresensky: All my life I have been dealing with Russian-Chinese, Soviet-Chinese, and then Russian-Chinese relations. At some point, several years ago, I had the feeling that I could not do anything new in this area, and there was nothing to analyze there, good relations at the top, economies are developing mainly in the energy sector. All the restrictions that affect the development of economic relations are clear. What is happening now is a completely new turn in Russian-Chinese relations.

First of all, Russian-Chinese relations have become a factor in world politics, despite everything that is said, despite the problems that exist, the discussions that are going on, the dangers that lie in wait. This is a factor in world politics. I think it’s very hard to deny now.

The second thing to note is the new opportunities and new challenges for Russia. This is the emergence of a Chinese idea – a new Great Silk Road, an idea of ​​economic development, a huge belt that exists between two macro-regions – Greater China and the European Union. China has set this as the goal of its further development.

at least in this region. It was formulated at the highest level by Chinese President Xi Jinping, it is clear that China will move in this direction. Today at the conference it was said that first of all these are economic projects. This is likely to greatly reduce existing fears that a strong Chinese economy will overwhelm everyone in the region. There will be a very great interest in the project: new opportunities, loans will be provided, additional labor will appear, that is, it will be possible to significantly advance the development of the economy in this direction.

From the point of view of the future, it is clear that if this conjugated belt arises, then the central part of Eurasia will cease to sag economically, and social tension in the region will decrease. This can help solve the problem of international terrorism.

For Russia, on the one hand, this is a very big chance, but at the same time a challenge, because we will have to create such a business climate in Russia and the Eurasian space that will definitely not be worse, and preferably better, than in the economic space of the new Silk way.  This is an important step, since before that it was believed that Russia could close itself off from the whole world and build a powerful economy.

Now we see that new projects have emerged, the momentum is very powerful. There is a theoretical danger that, knowing our powerful bureaucracy, they may not be implemented. But I think that China will simply not allow us to do this. And also the fear of being isolated from participation will fuel the interest of Russian business circles, Russian political circles in promoting this region and participating in what is happening there.

Sergey Kulik: in my opinion, now it is worth paying special attention to security and trade and economic issues. The main criterion for assessing the turn of Russian foreign policy to the East is the indicator of investment, especially in the development of the Far East and Eastern Siberia. The countries of the Asia-Pacific region do not yet have a particular desire to increase the available financial tranches, which do not meet the expectations of the Russian government in terms of volumes. The future modernization of Russia directly depends on the size of investments today.