At the Belt Road Forum in Beijing, Vladimir Putin once again reaffirmed his personal relations with Xi Jinping without getting into economic specifics. But still, the Russian President managed to get special attention. Russia needs to be satisfied with its political gains from the forum.
The Sino-Russian swap agreement of 2014 was signed right before a major geo-political crisis and the depreciation of the Russian currency. Although the idea of an escape from the U.S. dollar in bilateral payments is quite positive, the deal could not help improve bilateral trade and investment.
Russian companies are optimistic that the sale of cheap grain and high-quality sweets will help create a climate of “comprehensive strategic cooperation” with China. However, they face completion in the Chinese market from more familiar food brands from the U.S., Australia and New Zealand.
Sino-Russian relations do not constitute a new axis of like-minded authoritarian regimes that want to challenge the West by default. But it’s an example of how tactical and opportunistic cooperation of non-Western powers seeking to boost their influence on the international stage comes at expense of the Western-led international order.
State-sector reform is crucial for the long-term prospects of the Chinese economy, but it remains unclear how Russia's experience in dealing with the state sector could be of any use to Beijing.
Both China and Russia are led by leaders acting out of the national interest, which should mean that even if President Xi or President Putin will not be able to resolve their differences with President Trump, they will at least speak the same language.
Going forward, Xi, Putin and the next US President will be largely responsible for the state of the world. China's and Russia's leaders will not only work closely with each other, but also learn from each other, in economics as well as in politics.
What Russia may seek in the long term in Southeast Asia is a position of a respected and seemingly disinterested outside power helping maintain an equilibrium in a potentially highly volatile region.
Carnegie Moscow Center hosted a discussion about key trends in the development of modern China and potential consequences of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.
The “turn to the East” has dramatically changed Russia’s strategy towards China and many underlying assumptions. It has also dramatically influenced the mainstream analysis of Chinese security intentions in Northeast Asia. The influence of this major shift in national policy, as well as policymakers’ and scholars’ perceptions of China, was felt throughout 2015.