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Russian-Chinese Cooperation at the Present Stage: Challenges and Prospects俄中现阶段的合作:挑战和前景

By Guseletov B.P., Doctor of Political Sciences, Head of the Department of Political Science of the Institute of Socio-Political Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences
文|鲍·古谢列托夫(Guseletov B.P.)  俄罗斯科学院社会经济研究所政治学处负责人、政治学博士        翻译|胡昊

导读

中俄新型国家间友好没有止境,合作没有禁区,加强战略协作不针对第三国,也不受第三国和国际形势变幻影响。正是带着这种关系,世界进入了新时代

俄中合作的有利条件大于制约因素

俄中全方位合作前景广泛

 

 

Despite the most difficult situation in the world related to the military conflict in Ukraine, which began in February this year, relations between Russia and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) are experiencing the best period and at the same time have the potential for their further deepening. The two largest powers of Eurasia continue to strengthen economic ties and develop partnership in the field of security and international cooperation. At the same time, the principle of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, which is shared by the leaders of both States, and the similar nature of their political regimes guarantee the absence of any political friction between them and ensure their common position on most issues of global development.

It should be recalled that in the joint statement signed by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin 28.06.2021 during the summit on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the “Treaty on Good Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation between Russia and China”, it was noted that: “Not being a military-political union, similar to the alliances formed during the Cold War, Russian-Chinese relations surpass this form of interstate interaction. They have no opportunistic nature, are free from ideologization, assume comprehensive consideration of the partner’s interests and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, are self-sufficient and are not directed against third countries.”

The stability of Russian-Chinese relations is based on three key factors: mutually beneficial trade and economic ties, the absence of serious ideological and political differences between the countries and the need to preserve peace on the border between Russia and China.

Western sanctions against Russia, which significantly expanded in 2022, contributed to the expansion and deepening of its economic cooperation with China. The development of this cooperation is based on strong political relations between our countries, established economic ties, Russia’s objective need for Chinese technologies and investments, and China’s reciprocal interest in the widest Russian market, from which almost all Western campaigns have left.

The deepening confrontation between Russia and China, on the one hand, and with the United States and their partners, on the other hand, contributes to the rapprochement of Beijing and Moscow, and the escalation of Western sanctions against both our countries to a certain extent stimulate their closer economic and political cooperation.

Nevertheless, it is important for Russia to realize that the process of its further economic rapprochement with China will be difficult, primarily because of the danger of the introduction by the United States of secondary sanctions against Chinese companies. In recent years, China has been seriously integrated into the global world economy. Therefore, the risks of losing the markets of the USA, Europe or other countries due to these restrictive measures are a serious constraint for representatives of large Chinese businesses in their relations with Russian partners.

Let’s take a closer look at what factors have the most serious impact on the further development of Russian-Chinese trade and economic relations in the current situation.


For Russia it is:
1. Maintaining and possibly even expanding the markets for its export goods, primarily gas, oil, coal, ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy products, which are gradually being displaced from the world market due to sanctions from the United States, the EU and a number of other countries. China has already taken on significant volumes of released Russian exports and its role in solving this problem remains key, at least for the near future.

2. Given the serious restrictions on ensuring financial transactions between Russia and its leading foreign partners, it needs, firstly, to establish reliable financial cooperation with China to ensure the sustainability of bilateral trade. And secondly, in the transition in the future to the use of the yuan to finance its trade and economic cooperation with third countries. The solution to both of these problems will not be easy to implement in practice, but it will be extremely important for the preservation and development of cooperation between the Russian Federation and China and other countries in the new conditions.

3. The need to replace Western goods and technologies that have ceased to be supplied to the Russian market due to Western trade and economic sanctions and informal restrictions. Particularly sensitive is the replacement of high-tech goods and industrial equipment, including equipment for the extraction and processing of oil and gas, various kinds of machine tools, machines and components, electronics, etc. The Chinese economy can potentially ensure the supply of these goods and technologies, and in the long term become the basis for the formation of new more complex value chains.

China’s interest in expanding cooperation with Russia may be related to the following factors:
1. The expansion of the share of Chinese imports of Russian hydrocarbons and other natural resources, which it can buy at significant discounts under new conditions, will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the development of its economy due to the diversification of raw materials sources.

2. The conversion of the yuan into the main currency of Russian international transactions will help strengthen China’s role as another influential global financial center.

3. In the conditions of the fleeting liberation of the Russian market, which remains quite capacious, Chinese companies have great opportunities to occupy significant niches in this market, especially in such industries as the production and sale of automobiles, electronics and other essential goods, engineering products, etc.

4. The crisis in relations between Russia and the West allows China to strengthen its position on the world stage by deepening its partnership with Russia. Moreover, China is absolutely not interested in the collapse of the Russian economy.
At the same time, a number of external circumstances and challenges remain, which may significantly complicate the further development of Russian-Chinese cooperation.

The first challenge is related to the fact that the COVID-19 epidemic has not yet ended and the Chinese leadership is forced to maintain a high level of restrictions that negatively affect the expansion of business ties. And this seriously hinders the development of cooperation in the short term.

The second challenge is more significant and is related to the fact that Chinese businesses, especially large ones, are afraid of secondary sanctions from the US leadership in case of violations of American, European and other sanctions. This primarily concerns the supply of goods and technologies to Russia that China produces under American licenses. And also in the case of mutual settlements in US dollars or euros between Chinese and Russian companies that are under the above sanctions.

Nevertheless, there is every reason to believe that China, where medicine is at a high level today, will be able to radically solve the problem of the COVID-19 epidemic and the Chinese authorities will cancel the strict restrictions that are still in effect in this country in the near future.

As for secondary sanctions by the United States and its allies, they are unlikely to cause significant damage to the development of trade and economic cooperation between the Russian Federation and China. These sanctions do not apply to those goods and technologies that China produces under its own licenses. And there are more and more of them.

Financial sanctions will also not affect Russian-Chinese cooperation if transactions are carried out in yuan and rubles, which are not controlled by the US financial authorities. Moreover, recently the legislative authorities of the PRC and the Russian Federation have been actively transforming their own legislation in order to protect Chinese and Russian companies from the impact of Western sanctions.

Therefore, in the short and medium term, the risk of secondary sanctions will remain, but in the long term, the development and implementation of new mechanisms for financial settlements, as well as the creation of new market niches that are not related to Western technologies, create better opportunities for cooperation.

In addition to the objective challenges affecting the development of the Russian-Chinese partnership, there are a number of subjective problems, without solving which this partnership will be difficult. These include, for example, the need for the parties to have a good knowledge of Chinese and Russian, respectively, culture and law. The lack of such knowledge on the Russian side limits the ability of Russian business to enter the Chinese markets, attract Chinese investments into the Russian economy and effectively conduct business negotiations with Chinese partners. Chinese businessmen face similar problems.  It would seem that the presence of such linguistic and cultural competencies is not as important as the creation of the necessary financial infrastructure, the development of new transport and logistics corridors, etc., but without them it is impossible to count on the successful development of business relations in the long term.

Traditionally, for China and Russia, personal relations between the leaders of these countries play an important role in strengthening their cooperation. To date, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin have held almost 40 personal meetings, not counting numerous telephone conversations.  Therefore, it can be argued that a friendly personal contact has formed between them, which allows them to promptly resolve any issues that arise. The trusting relationship between the leaders of the two countries is undoubtedly a significant advantage that guarantees the successful development of Russian-Chinese relations both in politics and in the economy.

On February 4, 2022, following the talks between Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin in Beijing, they signed a Joint Statement of the Russian Federation and China on international relations in a new era and global sustainable development. In this statement, the parties noted that “no State can and should ensure its security in isolation from the security of the whole world and at the expense of the security of other states.” Russia and China once again stressed that they stand for the formation of a new type of relations between the world powers, which should be based on mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and partnership cooperation.

The Statement also stressed that the friendship between the two states has no borders, and the strengthening of their bilateral strategic cooperation is not directed against third countries, is not affected by the changing international environment. According to V. Putin, thanks to these principles of building the Russian-Chinese partnership, the relations between our countries are “a model of efficiency, responsibility, aspiration for the future.” And, as the subsequent events of February 2022 showed, it was with these relations that the world entered a new era.

The reaction of the Chinese leadership to the events around Ukraine, which basely stated that Western sanctions against Russia contradict international law and provoke a global economic crisis and that this conflict should be resolved through peaceful negotiations, fully corresponds to Russia’s position. And on June 15, 2022, in a telephone conversation between Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, the Chinese President noted that despite any changes in the world arena, Russian-Chinese relations continue to develop successfully. He also reiterated that China has its own position on the Ukrainian problem.

On June 17, 2022, speaking at the planning meeting of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russian President Vladimir Putin noted that for Russia “cooperation with China is interesting and important, but this does not mean that Beijing should support Moscow in everything: China has its own interests, and we must respect them.” In turn, Xi Jinping, in a video message to the forum participants, noted that: “Today, cooperation between China and Russia in all spheres is developing along an upward trajectory … and this indicates high stress tolerance and the internal potential of Sino-Russian cooperation.”

Within the framework of this forum, a business dialogue “Russia – China” was held, moderated by the heads of the Union of Chinese Entrepreneurs in Russia and the Institute of the Far East of the Russian Academy of Sciences, which was attended by representatives of more than 40 Chinese companies. As a result of this meeting, it was decided to establish a “Coordinating Council for China” in Russia, which included representatives of leading Russian scientific centers. This council will be supported by the Administration of the President of the Russian Federation, the Government of the Russian Federation and the Security Council of the Russian Federation.

Thus, according to the results of the SPIEF-2022, it can be stated that Russian-Chinese business cooperation continues its progressive development due to the fact that political agreements and joint statements of the leaders of the two countries are successfully transformed into economic results. China is becoming a key consumer of Russian energy resources, and the governments of the two countries continue to conduct intensive negotiations on the creation of new routes for their transportation to China. On the other hand, after the completion of the SPIEF, it was announced the resumption of supplies from China to the Russian Federation of spare parts for civil aircraft, the establishment of closer cooperation in the automotive industry. Chinese smartphones Xiaomi, Huawei, Vivo and others in 2022 came out on top in the Russian market, displacing the iPhone and Samsung, which for many years completely dominated it.

Global cooperation between Russia and China has found expression in their close positions in relation to the development of various international integration associations with their participation. In particular, at the last XIV BRICS Summit held in Beijing on June 22-24, 2022 and the Business Forum held within its framework, the leaders of the two countries once again expressed interest in further strengthening Russian-Chinese relations. Currently, 45% of the world’s population lives in the BRICS member countries, and in the near future these countries will be able to overtake the Group of Seven countries in terms of their combined share in world GDP.  This further strengthens the role and influence of BRICS, and it is no coincidence that in addition to Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa, 13 other countries (the so-called BRICS+) took part in this summit. Official applications for joining the BRICS this year were submitted by Argentina, Algeria and Iran, and Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, according to the President of the international forum of BRICS countries P. Anand, expressed their desire to become members of BRICS.    As the heads of China and the Russian Federation stated in their speeches at this summit, the BRICS member countries are making joint efforts to protect peace and stability throughout the world, therefore they enjoy the support of a large number of Asian, African and Latin American states, strive to pursue an independent policy, and actively contribute to the formation of a fair system of interstate relations based on the norms of international law and the basic principles of the UN Charter. 

 


 



尽管世界面临始于今年2月的俄乌军事冲突所引发的非常复杂的局势,俄罗斯与中国之间的关系则经历着最好时期,并具有进一步深化的潜力。欧亚两个大国继续加强经济交往,在安全与国际合作领域发展伙伴关系。与此同时,两国领导人赞同的互不干涉内政原则及相似的政治体制,保证它们之间没有任何政治摩擦,并就全球发展的大多数问题保持共同的立场。

 

俄中合作的有利条件大于制约因素

应该提到的是,在2021年6月28日举行的纪念《中俄睦邻友好合作条约》签订20周年峰会上,中国国家主席习近平和俄罗斯总统普京签署的联合声明指出,“中俄关系不是类似冷战时期的军事政治同盟,而是超越该种国家关系模式、不谋求权宜之计、不带意识形态色彩、全面考虑彼此利益、互不干涉内政、具有独立价值、不针对第三国的新型国际关系。”

中俄关系稳定的基础有三个关键因素:互利互惠的经贸关系、两国之间没有严重的思想政治分歧和中国与俄罗斯的边境保持必要的和平。

2022年,西方对俄罗斯的制裁明显扩大,这有助于拓展和深化俄罗斯与中国的经济合作。这种合作的开展立足于我们两国之间坚实的政治关系、业已建立的经济联系、俄罗斯对中国的技术和投资的需求,以及西方公司退出俄罗斯留下的广阔市场。

一方面,美国及其伙伴试图加深俄罗斯同中国的对抗,另一方面这反而促使莫斯科与北京关系更加变近,而西方对两国的制裁升级在某种程度上也促进了两国密切的经济政治合作。

然而,重要的是,俄罗斯要意识到,它与中国经济进一步密切的过程将变得困难,这首先源于美国对中国公司实行次级制裁的危险性。近年来,中国已经密切地融入了全球经济圈。所以,由于这些限制措施,中国商界巨头担心失去美国、欧洲和其他国家的市场是中国与俄罗斯伙伴开展交往面临的严峻的制约因素。

让我们更加详细地分析哪些因素在目前阶段对中俄经贸关系进一步发展产生最严重的影响。

对于俄罗斯来说,这些因素是:
第一,保持和甚至可能进一步拓展其出口商品的销售市场,包括因美国、欧盟和其他国家的制裁从世界市场被排挤出来的天然气、石油、煤炭、黑色和有色金属制品。中国至少在最近的将来可以消化俄罗斯空出来的大部分出口产品份额,在解决这些问题中发挥关键作用。

第二,考虑到俄罗斯与其国外主要伙伴在财政跨境支付方面的严重制约,俄罗斯首先需要与中国建立可靠的财政协作,以保证双边贸易的可持续性。这两个问题的解决不仅实际上要实施,而且对保持俄罗斯与中国以及其他国家在新条件下开展合作异常重要。

第三,由于西方的经贸制裁和非正式限制,他们不再向俄罗斯市场供应西方的商品和技术,具有替代的必要性。特别敏感的是高技术商品和工业设备的替代,包括石油天然气采掘和加工设备、各种机床、机器及成套设备和电子产品等。中国的经济逐渐可以保证这些商品和技术的供应,而在长期来看,可以成为形成更加复杂的附加值链的基础。

中国拓展与俄罗斯合作的兴趣可能与以下因素相关:
第一,拓展俄罗斯碳氢化合物以及其他自然资源在中国进口商品中的份额。 在新形势下,中国可以用相当大的折扣价来购买这些商品,毫无疑问,这对其依靠原料来源多元化发展经济具有积极影响。

第二,把人民币变成俄罗斯国际跨境支付的主要货币,有助于加强中国作为另一个有影响的世界金融中心的作用。

第三,在仓促清空俄罗斯相当大的市场的条件下,对于中国公司占领这个市场提供了重大可能性,特别是在汽车、电子产品以及其他必需品、食品和机械制造的生产与销售方面。

第四,俄罗斯与西方相互关系的危机使中国可以依靠与俄罗斯的伙伴关系,强化其在国际舞台上的地位。何况中国对俄罗斯经济解体完全没有兴趣。

同样,一系列外部情况和挑战可能明显地使中俄合作的进一步发展复杂化。

第一个挑战是,新冠肺炎迄今依然没有结束,中国领导人被迫保持高强度的封控,这将对拓展商务合作造成影响。这也使短期内开展合作变得更加困难。

第二个挑战更加具有实质性,中国的商业机构,特别是大型商业机构,担心因违反美国和欧洲以及其他国家对俄的制裁,遭到次级制裁。这首先涉及到根据美国的许可,在中国生产的商品和技术向俄罗斯提供的问题。还有,一旦中国与俄罗斯的公司之间用美元或者欧元结算,也面临类似问题,因为这些属于上述制裁范围。

然而,有一切理由认为,目前已经高水平的医疗条件可以根本性地解决新冠肺炎问题,中国当局在不远的将来会取消那些目前在这个国家实施的严格的限制措施。

至于来自美国及其盟友的次级制裁,那么未必会对中国与俄罗斯经贸合作的发展带来明显的损失。这些制裁不会扩展到中国根据本国许可生产的商品和技术,而且这些产品和技术越来越多。

金融制裁也不会涉及到俄中合作,如果跨境支付用人民币和卢布支付的话,因为这些不受美国金融当局的控制。而且近来中国与俄罗斯的立法机构积极形成自己的法律体系,以保护俄罗斯与中国的公司不受西方制裁的影响。

所以,从中短期来看,实施次级制裁的风险依然存在,但是长期来看,制定和实施新的金融结算机制以及建立与西方技术没有关联的新市场,将为合作提供更加良好的机会。

除了影响俄中伙伴关系发展的客观挑战外,还有一系列主观问题,不解决这些问题将使伙伴关系变得艰难。这些问题包括,例如,各方必须更好地认识对方,相应地必须懂汉语和俄语,彼此的文化和法律。从俄罗斯方面看,这些知识的不足将制约俄罗斯商业进入中国市场,制约吸引中国投资俄罗斯经济以及与中国商人进行有效的商业谈判。中国商人也面临类似的问题。人们似乎觉得,通晓语言和文化与建立必要的金融基础设施、发展新的交通物流走廊相比较不是特别重要,但是,没有这些就不要指望顺利地发展长期的务实关系。

传统上来看,两国领导人之间良好的个人关系无论对中国还是俄罗斯来说,对于加强其合作起着非常重要的作用。所以可以断言,领导人之间形成了良好的个人关系,这会使两国快速地解决产生的任何问题。两国领导人之间的相互信任关系毫无疑问是明显的优势,可以保证俄中关系无论在政治上还是经济上得到顺利发展。

 
俄中全方位合作前景广泛

2022年2月4日,习近平与普京在北京举行高峰会晤,双方签署了《中华人民共和国和俄罗斯联邦关于新时代国际关系和全球可持续发展的联合声明》,在这份声明中双方指出,“各国人民命运与共,任何国家都不能也不应脱离世界安全、以他国安全为代价而实现自身安全。”俄罗斯与中国再次强调,他们主张世界大国之间应该建立新型关系,这种关系应该建立在相互尊重、和平共处和伙伴关系基础之上。

声明还强调,中俄新型国家间友好没有止境,合作没有禁区,加强战略协作不针对第三国,也不受第三国和国际形势变幻影响。在普京看来,由于建立俄中伙伴关系的这些原则,我们两国关系是“有效性、负责任和面向未来的典范”。2022年以来的事件证明,正是带着这种关系,世界进入了新时代。    

中国领导人对乌克兰事件的反应始终如一,并且声明,西方国家对俄罗斯的制裁违反国际法,将挑起世界经济危机,这场冲突应该通过和平谈判来解决,这与俄罗斯的立场完全符合。2022年6月15日,普京在与习近平的对话交流中,中国国家主席指出,无论国际风云如何变幻,中俄关系将继续顺利发展。他还再次强调,中国对乌克兰问题有本国的立场。

2022年6月17日,普京总统在出席圣彼得堡国际经济论坛全会的演讲中指出,对于俄罗斯来说,“与中国的合作是有意义的和重要的,但这并不意味着,北京在各种情况下都应该支持莫斯科:中国有自己的利益,我们应该尊重这些利益”。同时,习近平在向出席论坛的人发表的视频演讲中指出,“现在中国和俄罗斯在所有领域的合作在上升发展,这证明中俄合作有着高度的抗压性和内部潜力。”

在这次论坛框架下,在俄罗斯圣彼得堡市举行了“俄罗斯-中国”商务对话。对话的主持人是中国在俄中国总商会和俄罗斯科学院远东所的负责人,有40多家中国公司参加了对话。这次会议的成果是通过了关于在俄罗斯建立“中国事务协调理事会”,俄罗斯的主要学术中心的代表加入其中。俄罗斯总统办公厅、俄罗斯联邦政府和俄罗斯安全会议将对这个理事会予以支持。

这样,根据2022年圣彼得堡国际经济论坛的成果可以断定,中俄商务合作将继续不断向前发展,正因为如此,两国领导人的政治协定和联合声明将顺利地转变为经济成果。中国将成为俄罗斯能源的关键消费者,两国政府继续就建设通往中国的新路线进行密集谈判。另一方面,圣彼得堡国际经济论坛闭幕后,还宣布中国恢复向俄罗斯供应民用飞机零配件、在汽车制造领域建立更加密切的合作。中国的智能手机小米、华为、Vivo和其他手机的出货量2022年在俄罗斯市场跃居首位,排挤了长期在俄罗斯市场占据统治地位的苹果和三星。

俄罗斯与中国的全球性合作在它们参与的各种国际一体化机构的发展中的立场相似,并体现出来。特别是近期2022年6月22-24日在北京举行的金砖国家第14届领导人峰会上,在企业家论坛会议上,两国领导人表达了致力于进一步巩固俄中双边关系的意愿。目前在金砖国家成员国中,居住着世界45%的人口,不远的将来,这些国家的国内生产总值加在一起将赶上“G7”集团。这将再次加强金砖国家的作用和影响力。难怪在这次峰会上,除巴西、中国、印度、俄罗斯和南非,还有13个国家(所谓的金砖国家+)出席。今年,阿根廷、阿尔及利亚、伊朗、埃及、沙特阿拉伯和土耳其都提出了加入金砖国家的官方申请。用金砖国家国际论坛主席普·阿南德的话说,这表达了它们成为金砖国家成员国的意愿。正如在俄罗斯和中国国家元首在这次峰会的演讲中表达的那样,金砖国家成员国将携手同行,捍卫世界的和平与稳定,所以,该组织得到大多数力求奉行独立自主政策的亚非拉国家的支持,将为建立基于国际法和联合国宪章基本原则的国际关系新秩序作出积极贡献。