Ivan Safranchuck: Prospect of Cooperation between Eurasian Economic Union and Silk Road Economic Belt

Author:Ivan Safranchuck Date:2019-01-07

On the afternoon of January 4, 2019, the Institute of International and Strategic Studies (IISS), Peking University (PKU) held the 29th “North Pavilion Dialogue” series lecture. Ivan Safranchuck, Associate Professor of the World Political Process Teaching and Research Office of Moscow State Institute of International Relations gave a lecture on the topic of “Prospect of Cooperation between Eurasian Economic Union and Silk Road Economic Belt”. The seminar was hosted by Associate Prof. Guan Guihai, Executive Vice President of IISS, PKU.

Engaged in academic research covering fields such as U.S.-Russia relations, arms control and international security, regional studies (Central Asia and Afghanistan) and globalization issues, Safranchuck owns membership in both Russia’s Foreign and National Defense Policy Committee and “Vardai” International Debate Club Panel.

Leaders of China and Russia signed a Joint Statement on Cooperation between the Construction of Silk Road Economic Belt and the Construction of Eurasian Economic Union in Moscow in May 2015. Safranchuck believed that relevant consensus has notbeen put into practice. In his view, to understand the situation, similarities and differences of the intentions behind the two projects should be learned at the first place.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia established an economic development project that drew itself closer to the world while depending less on neighboring countries, which brought the regional cooperation into a standstill in the 1990s. In the 21st century, in face of increasingly severe security threat, Russia gradually realized that, in the long term, economic cooperation is an urgent need of Central Asia. Meanwhile, trade contacts with neighboring countries are making increasing contributions to Russia’s economic growth. Global financial crisis that broke out in 2008 hit non-western countries including Russia and Kazakhstan heavily, forcing Russia to change its strategy and seek economic growth impetus from regional cooperation instead of global development.

Safranchuck pointed out that the Eurasian Economic Union thus established is a regional cooperative mechanism based on internal protectionism. While the Silk Road Economic Belt signifies China’s intention to interconnect itself with major economic development centers in the world and to proactively maintain contact with the external world. Intentions held by both sides are not in conflict with each other, so there is foundation for both mechanisms to cooperate on projects. However, the difference in underlying intentions also leads to impediments in the implementation of specific actions. Safranchuck also said that regional cooperation and global projects have both advantages and disadvantages for local oligarchs and governments in Central Asia, so it is quite difficult for them to make choices; the successful connection of Eurasian Economic Union and Silk Road Economic Belt requires China and Russia to pay more efforts into the interest reconciliation.

In the comment and question-and-answer session, Safranchuck had in-depth exchanges and discussions with teachers and studentsat the seminar over issues including globalization, tripartite dialogues among China, Afghanistan and Pakistan, status quo of Shanghai Cooperation Organization. (contributed by Zeng Chuyuan)

Editor: Li Fangqi   Photographer: Zheng Peijie

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