Sunday, September 11, 2016

The New Silk Road and Eurasian Economic Union - cooperation or competition?

Stephen Blank, a seasoned observer of Russian-Chinese relations, argued recently that Moscow and Beijing are building an alliance, only without naming it as such. Blank focuses his attention on recent developments in East Asia, citing Russia's gradual adoption of Chinese positions with regard to territorial disputes in the South China Sea, North Korean nuclear programme, and the development of the American missile defence system in South Korea.

Given China's upper hand in the region, such adaptation on the part of Russia is understandable. This is why we have to look to other places to understand the developments in the two states’ relationship. Central Asia, where the two powers enjoy comparable positions, offers a good insight into the future of Sino-Russian relations. In an analysis prepared for the Centre for Eastern Studies, together with Witold Rodkiewicz, we explore how Moscow and Beijing attempt to reconcile their two regional-order concepts, the Greater Eurasia and the New Silk Road:

The Russian vision of Greater Eurasia is not an attempt to block the Chinese New Silk Road project. On the contrary, the Russian project represents indirect consent to the Chinese vision of economic cooperation in Eurasia, one in which specific economic blocs do not pursue a protectionist and limited policy. At the same time, this vision enables the Kremlin to maintain an appearance that it retains the political initiative in its neighbourhood and is shaping the policy together with Beijing.

The whole piece can be found here.

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