APEC – A Boost for Sino-Russian Economic Cooperation

APEC Gains in Sino-Russian Cooperation

APEC opens up new opportunities for the development of economic ties between China and Russia. The active endeavors of the two countries in promoting a regional integration pattern that is multi-layered and multifaceted are constructive in the development of APEC.

Since joining APEC, China and Russia have participated in all of its summit meetings and put forward many affirmative proposals. As the world’s second largest economy and largest source of commodity trade, China is exerting growing influence in APEC, which it uses to rally members to comprehensively propel regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific.

In the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the 2008 global financial crisis China acted as a responsible major country, adopting prudent monetary policies and proactive fiscal policies to stimulate domestic demand and bolster stable, healthy growth of its economy. These efforts helped stabilize regional and international finance, offered relief to the economic plights of Asia and the whole world, and gave strong impetus to the recovery of Asian and world economy.

China has so far signed agreements for free trade zones with 10 countries, several of them APEC members. This progress counters trade protectionism and facilitates free trade and investment flow regionally and internationally. Further opening up of China’s market also allows other countries to share the fruits of its robust economic growth.

As its eastern regions are largely undeveloped, Russia so far plays a limited role in the Asia-Pacific that is incommensurate with its huge potential. But its relative lack of sway now does not mean it will remain so in the future. Diplomacy with the Asia-Pacific is a priority in President Putin’s foreign policies during his third term. Therefore, it is expected that Russia will become more involved in Asia-Pacific integration.

In September 2012 Vladivostok in eastern Russia hosted APEC’s 20th Economic Leaders’ Meeting, the first time an APEC summit was held in Russian territory. The event signified the importance Russia apportions to the Far East, its willingness to cooperate with Asia-Pacific countries as well its strategic plan of returning to the region. State leaders discussed at the meeting trade and investment liberalization, regional economic integration, strengthening food security and establishing reliable supply chains, as well as cooperation to foster innovative growth. Through these subjects Russia aims to enhance across-the-board cooperation with Asia-Pacific countries so as to engage itself more thoroughly with the region.

The largest regional organization in the Asia-Pacific, APEC is not only about promoting trade and economic cooperation. It has substantial potential in facilitating technological cooperation, social/cultural exchanges and cooperation in non-conventional security areas among member states.

China and Russia have broad common interests and concerns in the Asia-Pacific. But their bilateral trade at present has a modest share in total cross-border trade in APEC. China and Russia are two regional powers, but the former is more distinguished by economic strength, the latter by military might. Given the current status of Russia’s economic clout, security and strategic presence will be the core means of its maintaining regional influence over a long period of time.

From a long-term perspective Russia is projected to advance to its utmost in Asia-Pacific economic integration. Cooperation between two world major countries – China and Russia – is in the interests of both parties and also the regions in which they are located. It is hence conducive to the improvement of global governance and fair handling of international affairs. China and Russia, therefore, have to position their cooperation in light of their respective strategic needs, in bilateral cooperation, their strategic roles in regional cooperation as well as their strategic functions on the platform of global governance. The new world situation requires the two countries to shoulder due responsibility for world peace, stability and development. They are expected to play dual roles in the Asia-Pacific: first, as defenders of the region’s security, and second, as spearheads and stewards of cooperation across this area.


Realms of Future Cooperation

The comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Russia is a major positive factor for peace, security and development of the Asia-Pacific; their cooperation will bolster collaboration across the area.

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