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Friday, June 24, 2016

Putin Visits China, Joint Eurasian Projects on the Agenda

Putin looks to China projects

By Kou Jie

Source: Global Times
Published: 2016-6-24 23:38:00

Joint Eurasian projects likely to be on agenda

Russian President Vladimir Putin's state visit to China on Saturday is expected to result in increased bilateral economic and political cooperation, while experts believe that the pairing of both countries' development projects in Eurasia will become a key topic during the visit.

During an interview with the Xinhua News Agency on Thursday, Putin said five member countries of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) "agreed to develop our cooperation with China within the framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative."

Experts noted that the paring of the Russian-led EEU and China-proposed Belt and Road initiative is expected to make further progress during Putin's visit, which will be a win-win solution for both Russia and China.

"Russia's economy is still floundering, which may lead to a diminished Eurasian Economic Union. The group needs to cooperate with other major economic entities to thrive, and China might be a good partner," Zhang Hong, a research fellow at the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times previously.

"Some experts used to believe that China's Belt and Road initiative might hinder Russia's Eurasian economic plans, but the statistics show that the two countries can actually benefit from cooperation, as Russia and EEU countries join China and Europe, and China needs Russia's support to fulfill its plan in the region," Sergey Komissarov, director of the Confucius Class of the Humanitarian Institute at Novosibirsk State University, told the Global Times.

A high-speed rail deal is likely to be signed during Putin's visit, which will help China to expand this sector overseas, as well as improving Russia's infrastructure, experts noted.

China has agreed to provide a 400 billion ruble ($46.2 billion) loan for Russia's Moscow-Kazan high-speed rail project, Russian news portal reported in April.

"The high-speed rail has been discussed for quite a while, as the two sides cannot agree on some financial issues. It's very likely that the deal will be signed during Putin's visit," Wu Yikang, director of the European Studies Center at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

As well as economic cooperation, the two countries may also issue joint political statements on certain international issues where they share some common position, including the South China Sea dispute and the deployment of missiles on the Korean Peninsula, experts said.

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