The success of political cooperation, according to the participants, should be coupled with a corresponding level of economic collaboration. At this moment, the economic ties between Russia and China require serious restructuring.
On March 25, 2016, the conference "Cooperation between China and Russia: The Process and Prospects" has been opened by speeches of Feng Shaolei
, Director of the Center for Russian Studies at the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, East China Normal University, and Andrey Bystritskiy
, Chairman of the Board of the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club.
They noted that 2016 will mark the 15th anniversary of the Sino-Russian Treaty of Friendship. The successful experience in implementing the treaty is especially significant in light of the modern turbulence and international instability.
, President of the China Foundation for International Studies, a dignified former diplomat, believes that soft power in the age of information wars is an important component in successful cooperation between Russia and China. Under the pressure of information isolation, unsupported concerns and bias tend to arise in the Russian and Chinese societies. That is why our countries need to work on transparency and openness of the information background. The speaker noted the importance of enlightenment amongst communities who have poor understanding of each other and emphasized the responsibility of mass media in this regard.
, Dean of the School of World Economics and International Relations at the National Research University–Higher School of Economics, Honorary Chairman of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, called for deeper strategic cooperation between countries and for coordinated actions in the Eurasian space. In his opinion, the world witnesses the formation of a new configuration based on emergence of two extended centers of power. The creation of one of them is actively spearheaded by the US. It will include partners and allies of the United States. Greater Eurasia can objectively counterbalance it, but that would require a more active posture of both Russia and China.
Over the course of the first session, entitled "Current status and problems of the bilateral Sino-Russian cooperation", the experts exposed the setbacks in the existing system of bilateral relations.
The success of political cooperation, according to the participants, should be coupled with a corresponding level of economic collaboration. At this moment, the economic ties between Russia and China require serious restructuring. Cooperation experience in the field of the military-industrial complex has surpassed the expectations. However, the trade turnover in other sectors in 2015 remained stagnant or exhibited a decline. Work on closer industrial integration, collaboration on the level of medium and small-scale business, as well as more dynamic humanitarian cooperation may offer a solution. One of the key steps in this direction was the foundation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
The Chinese partners urged Russia to demonstrate more openness and expand regional cooperation in the Eurasian region. The European Union, they believe, may harmoniously complement the existing cooperation system between the EAEU and the SREB. However, considering the modern international situation, some concerns are provoked by the EU crisis, its transformation from an actor of international relations into an object under heavy influence of large political players.
Keen attention was paid to the potential of Russia and China to create a formal alliance. Most speakers called the chances slim and, most certainly, unfavourable. The Chinese experts were especially skeptical in this case. On the other hand, by all accounts, the inexistence of a formal alliance is no obstacle for development of close ties and long-term relations, given that the outlooks of the sides on international issues are either practically identical or very similar.
Concluding the session, the participants of the debates called for training of more experts on Russia in China and experts on China in Russia, who should be competent in intercultural communication, because the activeness of contemporary collaboration does display a stark shortage of skilled staff. Exchange of young specialists and increase of the number of joint projects in the humanitarian field, the participants suppose, is one of the pillars for development of a long-term partnership.