Valdai Club Shanghai Conference, Session 2: Russia and China Opposing Global and Regional Security Challenges: Estimates and Reactions

Participants in the second session, dedicated to the ways Russia and China are opposing security challenges, set several directions for the further discussion. The debate was dominated by such issues as global and regional terrorist threats as well as prospects of cooperation between Russia and China on joint security management.

The moderator opened the session by stressing that fighting international terrorism is an extremely pressing issue. Terrorism has long ceased to be the problem of individual countries, becoming one of the most serious threats to humanity, and can therefore be qualified as a global issue.

Although almost all states share a very negative attitude to international terrorism, world powers slightly differ in understanding this problem. The strategic positions, interests, and concepts of China and Russia in this area are similar, therefore both countries should mobilize all their resources to combat extremism and terrorism. China backs Russia on fighting terrorist forces in the North Caucasus and positively estimates its military operation in Syria. Over the past years, China has accumulated significant experience of anti-terrorist operations, therefore the two countries’ collaboration can be very fruitful.

During the debate, experts pointed out that Russia, as Beijing’s strategic partner, is objectively a guarantee of stability and security on China’s Eurasian frontiers.

China’s expert community believes that ties between Russia and China are a positive factor of international relations. They create a balance of forces in international relations, enhancing the multi-component character of international politics, which in turn strengthens global strategic stability and helps build a just and rational society.

One of the experts noted that the strategic partnership was the best form of relations between Russia and China. It absorbed the experience and historical lessons, is close to the present cooperation level, as well as fully complies with the internal policies of the two countries. The existing format is fully accepted and supported by the elite and people of Russia and China.

The strategic partnership has a functional elasticity and is open to new additions and amendments. If necessary, these relationships can be transformed into an alliance without extensive training and the definition of mutual obligations. The experts also discussed the joint opposition against the ideological expansion of the West, the need to promote their own alternatives. Even more, in Russia and in China there is a very relevant question regarding the management of their own discourse.

It was especially noted that the fight against terrorism was included in the concept of China's national security, as well as the establishment of a centralized governing body for anti-terrorist activities, which can be compared with the previously established National Anti-Terrorist Committee.

The debate was a lively and meaningful. Summarizing it, the participants of the session offered several different perspectives of the development of relations between Russia and China in the field of counter-terrorism, including:

∙ signing of agreement on mutual trust in the military field between China and Russia;
∙ active military and strategic cooperation;
∙ cooperation in the field of military technology, including air defense;
∙ development of a joint strategy for stability in the Korean peninsula;
∙ joint military exercises;
∙ cooperation in such a new area as private military companies, which could be capable to perform a wide range of tasks.