Li Keqiang in Moscow: An Important Moment for Russia-China Relations

On September 16-18, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China Li Keqiang paid a visit to Russia. He held a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and discussed issues for strengthening bilateral trade and economic cooperation. After his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Li Keqiang said that the two countries have enormous prospects for cooperation. This visit came at an important moment for Russia-China relations in the context of tectonic shifts in world affairs, said Eric Li, founder and managing director of Chengwei Capital, in an interview with valdaiclub.com.

In the wake of the Cold War, the economic relationship between Russia and China was mainly between that of a major energy supplier, Russia, and one of the world’s largest energy consumers, China. Geopolitically, the two countries cooperated with the primary objective of deterring Western hegemony.

The world has now changed. The decision by the United States to use aggressive methods to defend its trade interests at the expense of the global trading system has increased the need for the two countries to expand their economic relationship. Trade has been growing and, most importantly, trade in the non-energy sectors has been growing much faster. Trade in services has doubled over the past year. China is opening its market wide to Russian businesses beyond the energy sector: in services, agriculture, finance, and technology. The increase in economic activities between the two countries in non-energy sectors could disproportionately benefit small-to-medium-sized businesses in Russia. This could help develop a weak segment of the Russian economy – the small share of SME’s in the overall economic pie.

Russia-China: ‘Epoch-Making Relations’ for a New Era
On October 1, 2019, the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China will be celebrated, as well as relations between Beijing and Moscow, which have lasted just as long. In recent years, they have been steadily improving, and experts often talk about the “strategic partnership.” At the discussion hosted by the Valdai Club on September 17, Russian and Chinese experts tried to consider the past and present of these relations, determine their specifics, and guess what we should expect next.
Club events

Geopolitically and geo-economically, the relationship is moving from merely a defensive posture against the Western imposition of its political and military interests to the pro-active construction of increased connectivity among nations within and beyond the current global architecture. The areas of note are the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and international finance. Russian cooperation is critical to China’s vision of dramatically expanding economic ties among the nations of the Eurasian landmass by the building of extensive infrastructure.

In international finance, the United States, beginning in the Obama administration and continuing in the Trump administration, has been aggressively weaponising its dominance of the global financial system and the status of the US dollar as the reserve currency to achieve its political goals and national interests around the world. This has the potential to undermine the functioning of the global financial system and the US dollar’s reserve currency status. China and Russia are probably the only two major powers that have both the independence and the political will to seek to develop much-needed alternatives for themselves and perhaps for the world. As such, the Joint Communiqué signed between the two premiers on September 18th included more specifics on how both countries can collaborate on the BRI and cross-border finance.

US-China Trade War Is A Chance to Boost Economic Cooperation Between Beijing and Moscow
Yu Hongjun
The US-China trade war is a chance to provide an impetus to economic cooperation between Beijing and Moscow, according to Yu Hongjun, Vice President of the Chinese People’s Association for Peace and Disarmament (CPAPD) and former deputy head of the International Liaison Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. He was interviewed by valdaiclub.com on the sidelines of an expert discussion, titled “Cooperation Between China and Russia Amid New International Conditions.”

Expert Opinions
Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.