We Do Not Want to Fight with Anyone: How Will Russia and China Deal with External Challenges?

“We do not want to fight with anyone, we do not want to quarrel with anybody – we need peaceful conditions for our development,” says Pan Dawei, Director of the Center for Russia Studies at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, who takes part in the Russian-Chinese conference of the Valdai Discussion Club. 

The world order is undergoing radical structural changes – and this is a challenge for Russia and China. Previously, the unipolar system reigned in the world, however, as some American experts say, now the “end of history” has come. But this judgment does not correspond to reality. History develops, the end has not come. 

China and Russia claim the need for development of their states. We would like to have favorable development conditions for our countries in order to improve the living conditions of our peoples. Therefore, speaking of the strategic goals of Russia and China, this is our common goal. 

But in order to create peaceful, normal conditions for the development of our countries, we need to formulate a fair and transparent world order based on laws and rules, recognized on the international arena. This is the common external goal of Russia and China. We do not want to fight with anyone, we do not want to quarrel with anyone – we need peaceful conditions for our development. 

Unfortunately, there are [international players] who think differently: they want to develop at the expense of others, using armed forces. This is the path of colonialism. Yes, at the expense of others they created a powerful economy, a political system. But they violate international rules. We need mutual respect, recognition of our sovereignty. If these conditions are met, we are ready to work together. 

Of course, not everything is so simple. [The West] is already used to this situation. For it, the world is a round cheese, which has already been sliced. And [the West] does not want others to encroach on this cheese. The rule “this is my piece of cheese” has already been set. 

The West does not want to see that the main trend in the world now is globalization. It is interesting that globalization was not invented in China or Russia. The copyright to create this phenomenon belongs to America, but now the “author” does not want it to develop further. China insists that this trend benefits everyone. 

How should we treat the existing changes, the new problems that have emerged under the new conditions? In what way can they be resolved? Take, for example, trade wars. China is ready to resolve this problem in a peaceful way. We are waiting, but the answer is unclear. And this is also a challenge. For our part, we are ready for tolerance, but what answer is expected from us – I don’t know. This ambiguity is another serious challenge that confronts us. 

Russia and China need to choose jointly the acceptable ways to resolve these incomprehensible challenges. Of course, these methods should be based on international law, on the UN instruments. 

The 5th Russian-Chinese conference of the Valdai Discussion Club, titled “Russia and China: Contemporary development challenges” is being held in Shanghai and is attended by more than 50 officials and leading experts from Russia and China. You can download the Programme here.

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