China, Russia can promote multilateralism

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/6/9 19:48:39

Editor's Note:

Chinese President Xi Jinping recently wrapped up a state visit to Russia where he also participated in the 23rd St Petersburg International Economic Forum. How should China and Russia cope with US unilateralism and trade protectionism? Rossiya Segodnya (Russia Today) hosted a video conference between Moscow and Beijing on June 3, inviting Chinese and Russian experts to discuss current China-Russia ties. The Global Times collected opinions of three experts present at the conference.

Photo: IC

Cui Liru, senior researcher of Taihe Institute and former president, senior consultant of China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations

There are three main causes behind the trade conflict between China and the US. In the economic sphere, the US has a large trade deficit with China and believes it has been taken advantage of by Beijing for many years. Washington asks Beijing to purchase more US goods and make structural changes in many fields. Some of Washington's requests are irrational and hit China's bottom line, which is unacceptable for Beijing. Therefore, both sides went into a standoff.

The China-US trade dispute is not a simple issue that has to deal with economy and trade. The US believes China's rise has continually raised the heat of competition, threatening the long-term dominance of the US in many domains, which Washington cannot stand. In key fields, Beijing's competitiveness erases Washington's advantage. Many US practices in the trade feud aim at giving Washington an upper hand by suppressing China, and eliminating spheres where China has an advantage. US moves have strong strategic and political connotation. 

Furthermore, US President Donald Trump's administration is increasingly influenced by right-wing extremism and ideological factors. This affects China-US trade negotiations.

Washington's policy undermines multilateral mechanisms. Trump's "America First" policy makes cooperation difficult to achieve.

Hence, China and Russia can play a constructive role in promoting multilateralism.

Vladimir Petrovsky, chief research fellow at the Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences

China and Russia are in a similar situation. The US has slapped sanctions on Moscow since 2014 because of the Ukraine issue. US moves are one of the reasons for China and Russia to strengthen their cooperation. But Beijing and Moscow are unlikely to build an alliance to deal with Washington, since the principles of non-alliance, non-confrontation and not targeting third countries is the basis of bilateral ties.

Besides strengthening bilateral cooperation in trade and economy, China and Russia can jointly study Trump's strategies and pre-empt what his administration will do in the future.

Russia's high expectations of Xi's state visit to the country have come to fruition as a number of deals have been signed. 

Sergey Trush, research fellow at the Institute for US and Canadian Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Some believe the US trade friction with China is mainly due to Trump's poor decision-making. The situation, however, is gradually evolving. In the last 15 years, Washington has always been thinking of containing Beijing or luring it into a partnership. But as China adopted globalization, the US strategy failed to meet its goal.

In fact, China and Russia have entered a stage of pragmatic cooperation. But there are still problems with their cooperation. 

For example, after the US and other Western countries slapped sanctions on Russia in the wake of the Ukraine crisis, Chinese banks have been more cautious in cooperating with Russian peers. It shows China is taking US sanctions against Russia seriously.

However, China and Russia are open to discussing the problems as part of their cooperation mechanism.

Posted in: VIEWPOINT

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