Alexander Gabuev: Russia Pays Close Attention to “The Belt and Road Initiative”
On June, 26th, 2017, the Institute of International and Strategic Studies (IISS), Peking University (PKU) hosed the 16th North Pavilion Series Seminar. Alexander Gabuev, Senior Associate and Chair of the “Russia in Asia-Pacific” program at the Carnegie Moscow Center, was invited to give a lecture on “Russia’s View on the Belt and Road Initiative”. The seminar was hosted by Guan Guihai, Executive Vice President of IISS, PKU and Associate Professor at the School of International Studies, PKU.
During President Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow in May, 2015, China and Russia signed a joint declaration on the cooperation between Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and the Belt and Road Initiative. In Gabuev’s opinion, since the joint declaration was released, Russia’s attitude towards the Belt and Road Initiative has gone through three stages--from skepticism, big expectation to critical realism. He pointed out that Russia paid close attention to the influence of China on Eurasia, especially Central Asia, as the Chinese economic power boostedrapidly. They also raised many questions about the practical operations under the grand framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.
Gabuev stressed that there existed great potential for connection between EEU and the Belt and Road Initiative from the perspective of Sino-Russia economic growth, but we should not expect to see prominent results too soon. As estimated by experts, the most apparent effect would not appear until 10 years later. Moreover, the list of joint investment projects during the cooperation period has demonstrated China’s cautiousness on investment. The Belt and Road Initiative indicated that China would not fund all projects blindly, giving its relation with the financial instability caused by the stock market breakdown in 2015.
Gabuev concluded that the two countries should manage their expectation towards each other properly in the face of various challenges in future cooperation. China should make efforts to improve cooperation standard and take the expectations from neighboring countries in Central Asia into full account.
In the end, during the Q&A session, Gabuev had discussions with faculties and students present on issues of common interest, including competition and strategic partnership, economic consideration of the cooperation and the mainstream perception in Russia about the Belt and Road Initiative.
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