Подберезкина Ольга Алексеевна
25 августа 2015

The Silk Road Renaissance and New Potential of the Russian-Chinese Partnership

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Alexey Podberezkin

The author is Professor of Historical Sciences and Director of the Center for Military and Political Studies at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.

Olga Podberezkina

The author is a PhD in Political Sciences and Director of Scientific News Agency "NASLEDIE OTECHESTVA."

The similarity between the Russian and Chinese stances in international politics is driving their strategic partnership. Cooperation in building international transport corridors across Central Asia can make their economies stronger and the region safer. This article presents the main reasons for China and Russia to develop their transport corridors, details of the various international transport corridor projects of other global powers in Central Asia, and the prospects for cooperation in this sphere. Recently China has encountered a slowdown in its economic growth whereby Chinese goods become more expensive, thus impairing their main competitive advantage — low price. This prospect highlights a need to explore strategies to make transportation of goods more efficient. For the Russian government, even in times of economic sanctions and crisis, development of transport infrastructure such as the Moscow-Kazan high-speed railway is a high priority, which is expected not only to return financial results, but also to have positive effects on demography, population mobility, job creation, as well as foster new opportunities for local small- and medium-sized businesses. While both Russia and China are well aware of the economic reasons for developing transport corridors in the region, each has its own tertiary ambitions which are not yet quite clear. Trans-Russian transport corridors are twice more efficient than Trans-Caucasian or Trans-Turkish ones, and China's "Silk Road Economic Belt" initiative will be more effective with Russia. Previously suspicious about the advancement of other great powers in Central Asia, Russia has been awakened by the greatest Eurasian transport project under development, the "Silk Road Economic Belt," with particular regard to the opportunities of the project, as well as the risks of non-participation. Transport corridors may have great effects on the regional order in Central Asia and are of tremendous strategic impact. Both Russia and China are interested in building transport corridors and strengthening their positions in Central Asia. To prevent rivalry between Russia and China for transport corridors and cooperation with Central Asian countries, both countries must understand each other's goals and fears. With good management, cooperation in transport corridors can bring both countries great benefits.

Keywords: Transport corridor; Chinese-Russian cooperation; "Silk Road Economic Belt"; Central Asia; TRACECA

China Quarterly of International Strategic Studies
Volume 01, Issue 02, July 2015

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