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Overseas views on NPC & CPPCC: Russian Perspective on "Belt & Road" Initiative

Editor: Li Kun 丨CCTV.com

03-03-2016 15:08 BJT

Full coverage: 2016 NPC & CPPCC Sessions

Editor's note: The National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China's top advisory body, are scheduled to convene its annual sessions, known as the "two sessions" on March 3-15 2016, which marks a pivotal year as the nation continues on to embark with its reforms and opening up policy, shifting towards a "New Normal" for economic growth rates, starting its 13th Five-Year Plan for social and economic development over the next five years and confronting challenges on the foreign policy front. How will the NPC address those concerns? What do foreign experts and Overseas Chinese say? The Panview Column of CNTV has invited some of them to express their views on major issues to be discussed at the upcoming two sessions.

By Alexander Vorontsov, Ph.D., Head of Department for Korea and Mongolia, Institute for Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences

China and its Belt & Road initiative should be elaborated on against a background of the broad Eurasian and world policy dynamic picture.


Different states national interests have led to the appearance of competing global integration projects. Concerning the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), United States President Barack Obama has emphasized the new trade union would be a rival by nature and character.

He said, "We can't let countries like China write the rules of the global economy. We should write those rules, opening new markets to American products."

Beijing's "One Belt - One Road" initiative presents an alternative cooperative approach.

Simultaneously the Republic of Korea has put forward the Eurasia Initiative - mega-projects to form "economic blocs covered by Eurasia and even NAFTA."

Comparing the concepts in order to understand "whose road is a more realistic one," our answer would be in favor of the Chinese side.

The reasons are: Seoul's conception looks too ambitious while insufficiently practical, since ROK President Parke Geun-hye has already confessed that she had a lack of time to realize it.

Nonetheless China demonstrates a more consistent stance for the "Belt and Road" initiative, and holds incomparably larger resources.

The reasons that forced China to move ahead on a huge and expensive project look more grounded. Beijing recognizes the US "pivot to Asia and rebalancing" strategy as an attempt to hedge China in order to undermine its "peaceful rise".

Beijing fulfills the work thoroughly. The special economic committee was established to research the design into specific issues as well as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

The AIIB looks as an efficient tool to realize the ambitious infrastructure program. Its important specific features are not only a remarkable financial fund, but real openness and inclusiveness.

57 founding member countries have already signed on, and among them, 23 are from regions outside of Asia. For today, China has elaborated on and divided nine routs of the new Silk Road: six land ones and three corridors on the sea.  

Recently, Beijing had taken practical steps, including a test cargo train delivering to Western Europe via a number of routes that gives hope that Beijing's geopolitical turn westwards would be more vigorous economically and politically.

That will be provided by constructive work and China's practical steps towards its neighbors, including mutually beneficial investments, logistics and other projects.
However, the main purpose of the "Belt and Road" program is to find the most mutually beneficial and economically efficient models including transportation lines.

So it's not surprising why the majority of test trains were sent through the routes that are placed to the south of Russia.

However it would not be wise to underestimate the strategic reality. The very strategic calculation was one of the key reasons for the "Belt and Road" concepts.

The geopolitical imperatives for China's westward turn are clear – to take precaution against the risk of a naval blockade by the US in case of possible worsening of relations.

This possibility has also prompted China to speed up and diversify its activities, as well as to create means of supporting it along different lines.

Taking into account such a reality, it's not difficult to understand that Washington would try to persuade many loyal and dependent allies, located along the "south routes" (Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia) to cut transportation lines between China and Western Europe and to conduct a land blockade. 
Analyzing the "Road and Belt" project's future from this angle, we should conclude that only a "northern land line" via Russia despite its lower economic attractiveness would remain a single trouble-free and reliable artery that can guarantee Chinese cargo can be delivered to Eurasia.

In case of such a geopolitical reality, Moscow can offer an optimistic assessment and to forecast that China's new Silk Road will succeed.

Alexander Vorontsov:

Ph.D. (History), head of the Department for Korean and Mongolian Studies at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russia Academy of Sciences and the MGIMO-University associate professor. He also holds post as Russian Military Science Academy Professor.


( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )



Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.


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