Quality of relations, level of trust important for China-Russia ties in the next decade: Russian scholar
Published: Aug 16, 2022 11:22 PM
China, Russia. Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

China, Russia. Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

Editor's Note:

For the Chinese people, the past decade has been epic and inspirational. The country, under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, has made great endeavors in boosting its economy, deepening reforms, improving the rights of its people and acting as a responsible power globally.

Why could China achieve its first centenary goal? What will a great modern socialist country look like? Alexey Maslov (Maslov), Director of the Institute of Asian and African Studies of Moscow State University, shared his opinions on these issues with Global Times (GT) reporter Xia Wenxin.

GT: Which aspect of China's development in the past decade has amazed you the most?

Maslov: First of all, I think [I am impressed by] the stability of the development. China is still very stable in the economic and political sense. The second aspect for me is the very fast reaction of China to any new challenges, for example, to the COVID-19 epidemic, the slowdown of economic development, and any challenges from the US.

Third, China's combatting of poverty has been a huge success. I first came to China in 1989, and I saw a lot of very, very poor people all around China, not just in provinces like Sichuan or Hebei, but also in some very prosperous regions, including Guangdong and Fujian. Right now, the situation has completely changed: The economic situation of the so-called poor people has become very stable.

Another one of China's enormous achievements is that China has become a really powerful and influential country in world economic and political affairs. And I think its Belt and Road Initiative is very successful. Many people criticize this as "economic aggression of China," but we can see that a lot of countries that criticize China, at the same time also receive investments from China. So, it means that a lot of people and countries really like this idea of China that strives to connect different parts of the world through new infrastructure.

Finally, what I really like in China is the very high level of scientific education, especially in high end technology. I think the only way to succeed in the future is to develop new technologies and education. And China's political leadership understands it and invests a lot in educational development. So I think that is the correct way to the future.

GT: What will be the theme of China's development in the next decade?

Maslov: I think that China will concentrate on several main areas. The first one is ecological topics and new energy. China has already declared a new policy on the country's so-called ecological development. And it's important not just for China, but it's also important for Russia because we are neighbors.

Second, I think China will concentrate on new technologies, such as artificial intelligence and information technologies.

Third, it's the establishment of new domestic and international infrastructure: the railroads and all the means for developing the trade.

Fourth, I think that China will concentrate on raising the level of quality of people's life. So it means medical treatment, education, and standards of life.

Finally, I think China will play a much more important role in international relations, because it has already become an important regional power and an international power. I think China will participate in a much more active way, for example, in the BRICS organization and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

GT: China is now marching toward the second centenary goal of building a great modern socialist country. Do you think such a goal is feasible for China?

Maslov: I think so, as we can see for the last two decades, China has succeeded in all its campaigns. And that's why I think, yes, it's possible [to achieve the second centenary goal]. And it also will be very important, not only for China, but for other countries, because China is a country that attracts a lot of investments and a lot of countries are looking to China as an example of very successful development.

GT: How will China-Russia relations develop in the next ten years?

Maslov: Russia-China relations are very stable. That's very important because we have a lot of differences: China is much more powerful in the economic sense, and Russia develops its military technologies in a much more successful way.

But at the same time, we have a lot in common. We have a common understanding that the present world should be reconstructed in a more stable way. We think that there should be not just one center controlling the world. We are talking about multipolarity. In this way, we are very close.

Another important point is that we have developed mutual trade over the past several decades. And the level of trade has become very high. I hope the number will reach more than $170 billion bilaterally this year. But we should not pay too much attention to the level of trade. We should also talk more about the quality of this trade.

We can see that for the last several years, we have started to trade not just oil and gas, but also new technologies. Meanwhile, we have developed new special economic zones, and even Russia established a branch of the Moscow State University in Shenzhen. So it means that we have a new quality of development.

And what should we do now? First of all, maybe it's the right time for Russia and China to declare common goals and targets for development, not just separately. Another very important thing I think is that we should talk about developing new technologies, for example, IT technologies, software and so on. Finally, we should also focus on technology development in the military sense. And in this way, we could secure our countries.

China and Russia are very mutually interdependent. It means, for example, Russia could provide China with energy and agricultural products. At the same time, China could establish its own factories in the Russian territory: Right now, China has several new automobile factories in Russia. It's the right time for us to develop the quality of our relations and the level of trust. And I think that for the next 10 or 15 years, the level of Russia-China relations will only increase.