Valdai Club Shanghai Conference, Session 3: Position and Cooperation Between China and Russia on Issues of Global and Regional Governance

At the third session of the conference, entitled "Position and cooperation between China and Russia on issues of global and regional governance", the participants touched upon such topics as collaboration between Russia and China in regional and non-regional organisations.

During the debates, special attention was paid to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, its potential and prospects. Founded 15 years ago, it serves as a bright example of maintaining the principles of partnership and successful collaboration between member-states. The issue of SCO expansion and drafting of additional agreements between its members sparked heated debates among the experts. On the one hand, building an economic bloc on the groundwork of a platform that has already proven its efficiency could drastically simplify the process and allow countries to harness the accrued experience. According to other participants, the lack of implementable agreements that could interest the organisation's partners drives its efficiency down.

The golden thread of the session was the issue of developing a common conceptual framework between the Russian and the Chinese side. The participants reached a consensus that maximum mutual understanding in the field of terminology and its goals would solidify the backbone of the existing Russia-China cooperation.

A tempestuous discussion was kindled around the Russia-Vietnam military and technical cooperation. The Chinese side looks upon it with great suspicion, noting that it is one of the principal issues in further development of collaboration between Russia and China.

The current economic crisis prompted the participants of the discussion to consider mutual support that the ruble and the yuan could give each other. It stands to mention that the Chinese partners emphasised the importance of balance between state regulation and the natural market conjuncture in keeping the state currency rate stable.

The problem of the globalisation process' influence on the system of international relations and the changes that had cropped up since the beginning of the 21st century was raised over the course of the debates. One of the opinions expressed suggested establishment of a "parallel" or "alternative" system of world governance based on the principle of multipolarity. Its hallmark, as some participants noted, would consist in the fact that it would not contradict the existing, established systems, despite presence of an alternative system of values. It would allow Russia and China to join hands in resolving existing pressing international issues, such as the series of conflicts in the South China Sea, the Ukraine crisis and so on.

In general, according to the experts, the participation of the country in coalitions allowing it to press its point of view in international affairs is a substantial advantage. Considering the diversity and multifariousness of interests of each world power, it would be natural to take part in several coalitions at a time, each of which would be unanimous in a certain issue. Supporting major players would allow, as the conferees believe, to make a country's voice audible in the process of building a new system of international relations.

Concurrently, an important condition for countries is maximum openness for participation in new organisations and coalitions. The experts urged Russia to consider the Trans-Pacific Partnership and refrain from making hasty conclusions and postures towards it. The first step in tackling the issue could be a discussion between Russia and China on the one side and members of the TPP, as well as countries planning to join it, on the other.

Concluding the first day, the participants came up with several issues for debates at the closing, fourth session of the conference. One of them is the call for reflection upon the future actions, should one of the worst-case scenarios - aggravation of the world crisis, decadence of the leading players and exacerbation of the conflict potential - come true.