Alexander Lukin: China-Russia Relations and the Changing International Order

Author:Alexander Lukin Date:2018-12-15

On the afternoon of December 12th, 2018, the Institute of International and Strategic Studies (IISS), Peking University (PKU) held the 28th seminar of "North Pavilion Seminar" series. Alexander Lukin, Director of the Center for East Asian and Shanghai Cooperation Organization Studies, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), gave a seminar entitled "China-Russia Relations and the Changing International Order". The seminar was hosted by Jing Zongjie from the IISS. Many scholars and students from PKU, China Foreign Affairs University, and other universities attended the lecture.

Prof. Lukin is a famous Russian expert on China. He has visited China many times, and has written many books on China, including The Bear Watches the Dragon: Russia's Perceptions of China from the 17th to the 21st Century. He is also an Editor-in-Chief of the magazine Russia-China: 21st Century, Chairman of the expert committee of the Russian-Chinese Business Council, and Adviser of governor of Moscow Oblast.

Prof. Lukin introduced his new book “China and Russia: The New Rapprochement”, which was published this year. His central argument in the book is that an amicable relation between China and Russia is a natural consequence of changes in world politics. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the world order changed from a bipolar pattern to a "triumph of the West", and democratism has been vigorously trumpeted by Western countries as the best path leading to economic prosperity for "backward" countries. But this has not stopped the development trend of other non-Western centers of power. Countries such as China, India, and Brazil have embarked on the road of rise. Meanwhile, Russia, who became disappointed with the U.S. and Europe, no longer made concessions, and the Ukrainian crisis has accelerated Russia's confrontation with the West.

Prof. Lukin then analyzed China’s and Russia's perceptions of each other. He mentioned that the Russian government regards China as a comprehensive strategic partner, and the two countries share interests in a wide range of fields. Russian-Chinese cooperation in the fields of energy industry, arms sales, trade and investment, as well as regional cooperation (such as dealing with hot issues in the Korean Peninsula, Syria, Libya, etc.), and others, influences Russia's perceptions and feelings of China. Prof. Lukin also pointed out that based on maintaining the existing international order, the two countries and other non-Western countries are actively seeking international status equal to that of the U.S. and its allies. What China and Russia have been doing are regarded by the U.S. as expanding their sphere of influence, but actually, it is only an exercise of their rights as major powers to the minimum extent. Looking ahead, the relations between Russia and China will become closer, but the two countries will not form an alliance.

In the discussion session at the end of the seminar, Prof. Lukin had in-depth exchanges and discussions with the teachers and students present at the seminar on issues like history and current situation of Russia-Ukraine relations, the potential conflict of interest between China and Russia, and the future development of U.S.-Russia relations. (Contributed by Zeng Chuyuan)

Editor: Li Fangqi    Photography: Zheng Peijie

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