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通向和平之路:中俄聚拢欧亚


丝绸之路经济带是一条通向和平之路。它将进一步整合资源、生产资料和市场,推动欧亚一体化进程,维护中亚稳定,创新合作机制,保证俄中战略伙伴关系持续发展


文|季莫菲·博尔达切夫(Timofei Bordachev)瓦尔代国际辩论俱乐部项目部主任   翻译|许钦铎


2015年5月8日,在俄罗斯纪念卫国战争胜利70周年庆典的前一天,中俄两国元首签署了丝绸之路经济带和欧亚经济联盟对接合作的联合声明。10月16日欧亚经济联盟成员国(亚美尼亚、白俄罗斯、哈萨克斯坦、吉尔吉斯斯坦、俄罗斯)领导人在阿斯塔纳峰会上表达了希望同中国合作的意愿,并于2016年5月提议欧亚经济委员会为此协调政府间行动。正式谈判于同年8月启动。中俄两国的交往与合作是欧亚经济联盟和丝绸之路经济带对接合作的关键,也为合作提供了高层支持。

欧亚经济联盟和丝绸之路经济带对接合作的理念,源自俄罗斯意识到不能再像过去那样将欧亚大陆视作自己的后花园,视作它必须捍卫却无需耕耘的领地。封闭和排外让一些外部力量试图破坏俄罗斯和中国周边的稳定,离间中俄关系,或者迫使其他欧亚国家做出两难选择。欧亚经济联盟对物流、交通基础设施合作和共同发展的法律框架做出了定义,而丝绸之路经济带将为其注入巨大的贸易和投资动力。中国建设内部经济带的独特经验将在建设横跨大陆的新经济带过程中发挥作用,这条新经济带将进一步整合资源、生产资料和市场。

建设丝绸之路经济带的倡议是由中国国家主席习近平2013年在阿斯塔纳扎尔巴耶夫大学演讲时提出的。这一倡议不仅是为了解决中国的内部经济问题,也是为了在大规模投资和基础设施工程建设的基础上确保地区政治经济稳定,并将这一区域内的国家纳入共同的生产链中。在俄罗斯看来,丝绸之路经济带为经济发展提供了机遇,包括大量的基础设施、贸易和服务工程。如果这一倡议顺利实施,将释放中国西部和欧亚大陆中部巨大的发展潜力,并为之提供安全、稳定的外部环境。但是,尽管目标明确,中国最初的想法缺乏细节支撑,导致被其他一些国家误读。

欧亚大陆一体化是俄罗斯及其合作伙伴未来几十年规划中的旗舰工程。自2015年1月1日成立以来,欧亚经济联盟就为区域共同发展所需要的法律框架奠定了基础,也为防止和解决纠纷提供了工具。欧亚经济联盟的成立,是为了全面地促进现代化和合作,并提高国民经济的竞争力。这个组织还致力于成员国的稳定发展和生活水平的提高。因此,欧亚经济联盟实现了成员国之间商品、服务、资本和劳动力的自由流通,并努力推行协调一致的经济政策。哈萨克斯坦和吉尔吉斯斯坦的加入,更是让中国和欧盟之间只有一个关税关卡相隔。

法律框架将为欧亚经济联盟成员国之间、及其与周边国家之间的贸易合作创造大量的机会。但要使其成为现实,就亟需深化欧亚经济联盟与中国的合作。欧亚经济联盟条约为成员国之间建立共同市场、减免关税提供了路线图。按照计划,欧亚经济联盟会在2016年建立统一的医药产业市场,2019年建立电力统一市场,2022年建立金融统一市场,2024-2025年建立石油天然气统一市场。这将促进欧亚大陆内相关区域的进一步发展。

俄罗斯支持中国丝绸之路经济带倡议的动机很明确。在当下的国际环境中,俄罗斯有意为其自身发展在地理位置上创造多重机会。俄罗斯希望推动欧亚一体化进程,最终可以接纳新的成员国和观察员国。建立区域合作机制,完善已有的国际经济和金融机构,符合俄罗斯的切身利益,这在中亚地区显得尤为重要。俄罗斯的一个重要目标,是强化西伯利亚和远东地区的政治经济作用,创造条件,保证俄中战略伙伴关系持续发展。

在俄罗斯看来,在欧亚大陆建立贸易、经济和政治合作机制能为中国带来直接利益。这一合作将确保中国和欧洲市场之间的运输通道,并且使其相对独立于传统的海上通道。这还为中国在哈萨克斯坦、中亚、西伯利亚和俄罗斯远东地区的投资项目创造有利的政治条件,把伊斯兰极端主义的威胁降到最低,并且可以提升中国西部的战略发展。

当然问题也同时存在。欧亚经济联盟的许多交通基础设施还不完善,影响了交通运输领域的合作。比如,哈萨克斯坦阿拉木图货运港口的交通设施远不及中国乌鲁木齐内陆港,影响了服务质量和效率。可以这样理解,尽管欧亚之间的陆上通道大大缩短了运输时间,如果海上运输需要30-35天的话,陆路运输只需要14天,但陆上交通的成本要高得多。因此,只有在对运输效率要求极高的领域才会用到陆路运输,例如每公斤附加值很高的商品,特殊种类的食品和高级纺织品。但是近来,海路和陆路的运输费用,比如上海-圣彼得堡-莫斯科线,和上海-俄罗斯远东-莫斯科线,其运输费用正趋于持平,这将使陆路运输会更具竞争力。

现有数据表明,欧亚经济带将带来相对较高的成本效益。欧亚大陆为发展交通运输、建设物流通道和枢纽,包括航空货运,创造了独特的机会,以满足欧洲和亚洲的制造业和消费潜力。建立丝绸之路经济带将大大缩短货物运输的路程,像苏伊士运河航线那样。这条经济走廊长达8400公里,其中中国现有路段3400公里,在哈萨克斯坦和俄罗斯将修建或者改建的路段分别为2800公里和2200公里。其中一个巨大的优势是,在这条线路上只需要一次通关,即在中国和哈萨克斯坦之间海关。如果所有的倡议都能够顺利实施,例如在一些路段增加铁轨、会让线、集装箱厂区,加强维护等等,陆路运输能力将可能提高10%-15%。

当然,丝绸之路经济带和欧亚经济联盟对接不能局限于交通运输领域,还应当着眼于扩大区域间的贸易和经济合作,包括俄罗斯与中国之间。目前,这一领域的情况还不明朗,一方面,这里有大量的资源和巨大的发展潜力,而另一方面,地区间的差距也不容忽视。也就是说,俄罗斯和欧亚经济联盟同中国的贸易往来与其他贸易伙伴相比更具多样性。除了煤炭和碳氢化合物,欧亚经济联盟成员国还为中国提供设备、铀、木材、石油化工产品,和除丝绸和棉花之外所有的海关编码商品。


当地时间2016年5月31日,哈萨克斯坦阿斯塔纳,欧亚经济联盟(Eurasian Economic Union)会议在当地举行


根据中国的贸易数据,2017年1~2月欧亚经济联盟对中国的出口达到69.5亿美元,比去年同期增长了40%。从中国的进口增长了19%,达到了74亿美元。去年同期的数据是:2016年1~2月欧亚经济联盟对中国的出口比2015年同期下降15%,进口下降14%。2017年1~2月。从物品贸易来看,欧亚经济联盟对中国的出口增长了18%,而进口下降5%,这也要好于去年同期的数据(2016年1~2月和2015年1-2月相比),当时出口和进口分别下降了3%和5%。

在这里,中亚是一个主要的问题。它越来越给近邻国家和域外大国带来困扰。它紧邻极端组织最大的温床之一阿富汗,那里居住着不少塔吉克族和乌兹别克族人。“伊斯兰国”在中东不可避免地失败后,很有可能试图在中亚建立新的伊斯兰国。阿富汗同中亚邻国之间边界地区紧张局势已经开始升温。专家们警告,应警惕那些主要来自本地区的极端份子从阿富汗和中东向中亚渗透。根据最保守的估计,在2015年,有超过10000名来自中亚、俄罗斯和中国的人员为“伊斯兰国”战斗。

在苏联解体之后,哈萨克斯坦、吉尔吉斯斯坦、塔吉克斯坦、土库曼斯坦和乌兹别克斯坦当时的政府在维稳上取得很大成功。尽管如此,这些国家目前国内局势的前景几乎都不容乐观。在许多外国分析人士看来,在威权政治人物不可避免地离去之后,这些国家的政权更替机制还不明朗。根据官方的报道,2010年仅在哈萨克斯坦一国就发生了19起恐怖袭击,造成了49人死亡,其中大多是警察。同一时期,哈萨克斯坦当局也击毙了59名恐怖分子。

2016年6月,上海合作组织塔什干峰会和紧接其后的俄罗斯总统对华访问为讨论如何通过强化多边合作,尤其是地区超级大国中国和俄罗斯的合作,推动区域和平稳定,提供了良好机会。欧亚大陆中部的不稳定因素为中俄两国提供了积极的挑战,而且,这一挑战只能通过正和博弈解决。许多客观因素为中俄合作应对挑战提供了可能。首先,区域内的一些国家正面临国内政治和社会剧变。在中亚,国内局势的紧张源自于政府机构的不稳定、贫穷、极端宗教势力、以及近邻阿富汗的地缘政治特点。这些因素融合在一起决定了中俄两国必须关注中亚,从而获得更多的双边合作潜力。

中俄两国在地理位置上与中亚这个潜在不稳定地区相邻。这对于两国来说都非常重要。哈萨克斯坦和其他一些中亚国家紧邻新疆维族自治区,有超过百万的穆斯林居住在那里。同样,乌拉尔和中西伯利亚对俄罗斯也十分重要。中俄都很清楚,如果这些地区的安全局势恶化,他们都不可能把问题推给另一方,因此双方必须合作。中俄两国都不希望有外部势力的插手,不论这种势力来自何方。两国可能会为其邻国的稳定提供不同的合作方案。比起中亚地区的政权更迭,中俄两国更关心的是这一区域的长久稳定和社会经济水平的逐渐提高。中俄合作将有利于抵消中亚国家中试图平衡两国影响的做法。更为重要的是,中俄两国在中亚安全领域任何形式的合作都必须透明化、多边化,必须囊括该地区所有国家,并在一些问题上把伊朗考虑在内。

中俄在维护中亚稳定中所作的努力,将促使两国在更广阔的国际环境中保持团结。两国都有理由对战略合作中的政治和经济因素保持冷静,但是,现在两国的任务是决定何种合作形式最有利于保证中俄“利益和价值共同体”获得坚定持续的发展。首先,内部的安全稳定是这个共同体和相关机构最重要的现实目标,包括军事、治安和经济领域的协调与合作。

目前,中国正在为塔吉克斯坦和吉尔吉斯斯坦提供一些武器和军事装备。尚不明确的是,援助的规模是否能满足这些国家对抗恐怖主义威胁的需要。如果多个中亚国家遭遇内部剧变,中国该怎样做?俄罗斯能否保证自己的军事力量不会袖手旁观?很少有人质疑过,俄罗斯和哈萨克斯坦之间漫长的边境线,其紧邻乌拉尔工业区的地理位置,以及动荡不安的北高加索,会让俄罗斯在中亚对抗极端势力威胁的战争中选择独善其身。如果不利的情况发生,中国或许需要在与俄罗斯的合作中表现得更主动。当然,俄罗斯依然是本地区“硬安全”(“hard” security)保障方。灵活的干预形式,包括外交上支持和对经济恢复努力的支持,将大有需求。

我们还应预见到,中国在这一区域的经济参与程度会如何影响其在地区危机发生时的参与力度。根据中国央行的数据,自2001年起,中国在哈萨克斯坦的累积投资额已经达到了130亿美元(比荷兰640亿美元的累积投资额少75%,相当于美国230亿美元累计投资额的一半)。在塔吉克斯坦,2001-2012年外商直接投资累计达3.956亿美元,其中中国是最主要的投资者。同一时期,吉尔吉斯斯坦的外国直接投资主要来自中国和俄罗斯,分别为2.99亿美元和1.61亿美元。最重要的是,这些投资能否确保中国不会对投资接收国的发展情况袖手旁观。在2011年利比亚冲突爆发前,中国在利比亚的投资有大约190亿美元,但却似乎对损失并不在意。

总而言之,欧亚大陆国家间、地区间的合作不应局限在交通运输工程上,而是应当着眼于区域共同发展。这一宏观区域的经济活力、丰富的矿产资源、来自中国的投资以及欧亚经济联盟、上海合作组织、集体安全条约组织等区域合作组织,决定了其巨大的发展潜力。这为传统丝绸之路的复兴提供了先决条件,使之成为相邻国家之间贸易、经济和文化合作的重要通道,为这些国家带来财富和繁荣。

我们的目标是坚定不移地推进中俄两国的战略和睦与前所未有的相互信任。中俄两国关系必须更加透明,合作理念也应更加成熟。必须具有长远的战略眼光和稳固的合作机制,还要警惕外部力量破坏两国间的相互信任。两国人民需要扩大友好交流,这一点可以通过免签证旅游来实现。这将使在欧亚大陆建立一个新的基于共同利益和价值观的政治实体成为可能。

当前主要的工作,是找到最理想的合作机制,在欧亚大陆中部形成稳定的利益和价值共同体。这些合作机制必须是全面的、包容的,将政治和经济、“硬实力”和“软实力”结合在一起,必须使大国和中小国家都能从中获益。中国和俄罗斯都拥有潜力巨大的国际合作发展体系:欧亚一体化、丝绸之路经济带、亚洲基础设施投资银行、上海合作组织,以及同东盟的多边合作机制等等。要使这些合作机制进一步完善,并使其充分互补,则需要进一步的努力。


Silk Road to Peace China and Russia Assemble Eurasia


by Timofei Bordachev, Programme Director of the Valdai Discussion Club



May 8 2015, one day before the Victoryparade in Moscow, the Chinese and Russian Presidents signed a joint statementon the “pairing” of the Eurasian integration (EAEU) and the Silk Road EconomicBelt. In turn, the leaders of the Eurasian Five (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan,Kyrgyzstan, and Russia) confirmed at their October 16 summit in Astana,Kazakhstan their intention to cooperate with China and in May 2016 instructedthe EAEU Commission to coordinate the actions of the national governments. Theformal negotiations have started in August same year. Russian-Chineseinteraction is central to the “pairing” and constitutes its high-level supportbase.

The “pairing” concept originated fromawareness that Russia could no longer – nor should – look atEurasia as its “backyard”; one that must be guarded, but not necessarilydeveloped. Being hermetic and peripheral provokes outside forces into trying todestabilize the outskirts of Russia and China, to drive a wedge between Moscowand Beijing, or to force other Eurasian states to make a choice between what isalleged to be mutually exclusive alternatives. While the EAEU defines the legalframework for a transport and logistic infrastructure and joint development,the Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) should give it a huge trade and investmentimpetus. China’s unique record in creating inner economic belts will come inhandy as efforts to organize new international and transcontinental economicbelts capable of pooling resources, means of production and markets come underway.

The SREB initiative was announced by PRCPresident Xi Jinping at Nazarbayev University in Astana in September 2013. Itsaim is not only to solve China’s domestic economic problems but also to ensureregional political and economic stability on the basis of large-scaleinvestment and infrastructure projects and a policy to include the region’scountries in common production chains. The SREB is seen in Russia as an offerof economic development for a number of states, complete with numerousinfrastructural production, trade, and services projects. If implemented, thiswill make it possible to provide a stable and secure environment for thedevelopment of both western China and the whole of Central Eurasia by unlockingits full potential. But despite the clarity of objectives, the Chinese idea wasinitially devoid of specifics, something that led to its controversialinterpretations by other players.

Eurasian integration is the flagshipproject that Russia and its partners have mapped out for the next few decades.Launched on January 1, 2015, the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) is laying thefoundation for legal frameworks enabling a joint breakthrough. It is alsocreating a tool for preventing and settling interstate disputes. The EAEU hasbeen established to enable comprehensive modernization, cooperation, andgreater competitiveness of national economies. The union is also meant tocreate conditions for stable development and better living standards in themember-states. Accordingly, the EAEU provides for free movement of goods, services,capital, and workforce and works to coordinate and synchronize economicpolicies in different areas. Kazakhstan’s and Kyrgyzstan’s EAEU membershipcreates a situation where there is just one customs border between China andthe EU market.



These legal instruments can create hugepractical opportunities for border trade within the EAEU and on its externalborders. But for this to materialize, it is urgent to expedite the developmentof a wider EAEU-China agenda. The EAEU Treaty offers a roadmap for progresstowards a common market and possible exemptions. It is planned to consolidateregulation of pharmaceutical industries in 2016, to create a common power andenergy market in 2019, to institute common financial mega-regulators in 2022,and to form a common market for oil, gas and petroleum products between 2024and 2025. This in itself will facilitate the development of related clusters inEurasia.

Russian motivation behind the decision towelcome the Chinese initiative is very clear. In the contemporary internationalenvironment Russia is interested in ensuring that opportunities for itsdevelopment are geographically diversified. Russia wants to promote theEurasian integration project and eventually open it to new members andobservers. It is in Russian interests to build regional developmentinstitutions that would complement the already existing international financialand economic institutions. Particularly it is important in the region ofCentral Asia. One of Russia’s crucial national objectives is to maintain acourse for boosting the economic and political importance of Siberia and theRussian Far East and to create conditions for making its strategic partnershipwith China irreversible.

As it is seen from Moscow, China’s has adirect interest in building a system of cross-border trade, economic andpolitical cooperation in Eurasia. This cooperation would secure a transportcorridor between the Chinese and European markets, and be comparativelyindependent of the traditional maritime routes. It can also create favorablepolitical conditions for implementing investment projects in Kazakhstan,Central Asia, Siberia, and in the Russian Far East; minimize the risks andthreats posed by Islamic extremism and optimize efforts to develop western China,one of the strategic objectives confronting the state.

But there are problems as well. Manyelements of the EAEU transportation infrastructure are underdeveloped,undermining cooperation in the transportation industry. For instance, theAlmaty cargo port in Kazakhstan is not as well equipped as the Urumqi inlandport in China, which affects service quality and timeframes. This situationcould be explained in the following manner. While it is true that land routeslinking Europe and Asia provide for shorter transit times compared to shipmentsby sea at 14 days to 30-35 days, respectively, transportation by land is muchmore expensive. Consequently, it is used only by few market segments, where thespeed of delivery really matters. This could be goods with high added value perkilogram of weight, specific types of food products, and premium textiles.However, transportation rates for sea and land routes, for example the Shanghai– St. Petersburg – Moscow and the Shanghai – Russia’s Far East –Moscow routeshave been recently converging. This inspires hope that in the futuretransportation by land could become competitive.

The available data illustrates thatEurasian economic belt can be potentially relatively cost efficient. Eurasiaoffers unique opportunities for developing transport and logistics corridorsand hubs, including air cargo traffic, for matching Europe’s and Asia’smanufacturing and consumption potentials. Implementing the SREB will make itpossible to reduce cargo transportation distances on par with those realized byutilizing the Suez Canal route. The corridor is 8.4 thousand kilometers long,of which 3.4 thousand kilometers has been built in China and 2.8 thousand and2.2 thousand kilometers are being built or modernized in Kazakhstan and Russia,respectively. An important advantage in this respect is that there is just onecustoms border – that between China and Kazakhstan – to be crossed. Ifall the necessary initiatives are implemented, such as adding tracks in somesections, crossing loops, interchange yards, improving maintenance, this couldadd 10%-15% to the transit capacity.

Nevertheless, the “pairing” cannot be onlya transport project. It must be about expanding trade and economic ties withinthe region, including between Russia and China. So far, the situation in thisarea has been ambiguous. On the one hand, huge resources are available andthere is a great potential, while on the other hand, existing disparities haveto be recognized. That said, Russia and the EAEU’s trade with China is morediversified than with any other trade partner. On top of hydrocarbons and coal,EAEU members supply to China equipment, uranium, timber, petrochemicals, andalmost all customs commodity codes, except for silk and cotton.

Accordingly to the Chinese trade statisticsexports from EAEU to China in Jan-Feb 2017 reached the value of $6.95 bn,growing by 40% in comparison to the corresponding period last year. Importsfrom China experienced slighter increase of 19% hitting the benchmark of $7.4bn. This contrasts to the previous period – in Jan-Feb 2016EAEU exports to China dropped by 15%, while imports decreased by 14% incomparison to the corresponding period in 2015. In physical volumes EAEUexports to China grew by 18%, while imports fell by 5% in Jan-Feb 2017. This isalso better than the last year (Jan-Feb 2016 compared to Jan-Feb 2015) whenboth exports and imports fell by 3 and 5% respectively.

The major problem is that Central Asia iscausing increasing concern among neighbors and major foreign powers. Itdirectly borders on one of the most dangerous hotbeds of radicalism,Afghanistan, where a considerable number of ethnic Tajiks and Uzbeks live.After its inevitable defeat in the Middle East, ISIS may well try to establisha new Caliphate in Central Asia. Tensions in Afghan regions bordering onCentral Asian states are already rising sharply. Experts are warning ofincreased infiltration of extremists from Afghanistan and the Middle East,primarily Central Asian natives. According to the most conservative estimate,over 10,000 natives of Central Asia, Russia and China fought for ISIS in late2015.

Despite the considerable success of theexisting regimes in stabilizing the Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan,Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan after the Soviet Union’s collapse, now theprospects of domestic stability are much less assured in practically all ofthem. The mechanisms for transferring power after the inevitable departure ofthe political patriarchs are not entirely clear to foreign analysts. Sometimesinternal stability is compromised by flashes of violence. According to officialreports, there have been 19 terrorist attacks in Kazakhstan alone since 2010,leaving 49 people dead, most of them police. The authorities also killed 59terrorists over this period.

The SCO’s June summit in June 2016 inTashkent and the Russian President’s visit to China immediately after offeredgood opportunities to discuss how greater multilateral cooperation, primarilybetween the regional superpowers China and Russia, can improve regionalsecurity. Potential instability in central Eurasia represents a kind of idealcommon challenge for these two countries and can only be solved through arational positive-sum game. This is likely for several objective reasons.First, the region’s countries are prone to social and political upheavals athome. In Central Asia internal tensions are due to the instability of some ofits government institutions, poverty, religious radicalism, and finallyAfghanistan’s proximity. The combination of these factors has made the region afocus for both countries, thereby increasing their potential for cooperation.

The geographical neighborhood of thispotentially explosive region has great importance for both great powers.Kazakhstan and other Central Asian states border on the Xinjiang UyghurAutonomous Region with over a million Muslims, as well as on the Urals andCentral Siberia that are vital for Russia. It is clear for both states thatwere the security situation to deteriorate they would not be able to redirectthe issue towards the other power and would therefore be compelled tocooperate. Russia and China are equally interested in keeping out foreignpowers, no matter where they come from. Both Beijing and Moscow may offer theirneighbors rather different formats of cooperation for domestic stabilization.Russia and China are interested in the stabilization rather than thetransformation of Central Asian political regimes, combined with theevolutionary improvement of their economic and social conditions for as long aspossible. Russian-Chinese cooperation will play a role in countering inevitableattempts by regional countries to balance out the influence of the two greatpowers. Importantly, any format of Russian-Chinese cooperation on Central Asiansecurity should be transparent and multilateral, and should by all meansinclude the region’s countries, as well as – on a number ofissues – Iran.

Efforts to stabilize the region may uniteRussia and China in the broader international context. Both states have causeto be relatively calm about the political and economic components of theirstrategic cooperation. Now their task is to determine what institutional formswould be the best for making irreversible the development of the “community ofinterests and values”. To begin, internal security should become the mostimportant practical goal of this community and its institutions, including military,police and economic cooperation and coordination.

Currently China is providing some militaryaid – weapons and gear – for the destitute military in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. But it’sunclear whether the scale of this aid is satisfactory for these countries toeffectively respond to terrorist threats. What will China do, if a number ofCentral Asian countries become a scene of dramatic internal upheavals? CanRussia be sure that in this event its military will not remain there alone? Fewserious analysts have any doubt that the sheer length of the Russia-Kazakhstanborder, let alone its proximity to the industrial base in the Urals, and therestless areas in the North Caucasus, will leave Moscow indifferent to thefight against radical threats waged by the Central Asian security forces. Underpresumed critical circumstances, China will most probably need to practice moreactive cooperation with Russia, which will certainly remain the main providerof “hard” security in the region. Flexible forms of interference – diplomaticsupport and economic recovery effort – will be in highdemand.

It is also important to foresee how China’sactive economic presence in the region may influence its readiness for a moreactive involvement if a crisis does occur. Since 2001, China’s accumulatedinvestment in Kazakhstan, according to its Central Bank, amounts to about $13billion (or 75% less than the Dutch investment – $64 billion – and halfthat of the US with $23 billion). In Tajikistan, direct foreign investment (DFI)amounted to $395.6 million between 2001 and 2012, with China as the maininvestor. Kyrgyzstan in the same period received DFI mostly from China ($299million) as well as Russia ($161 million). The important thing is whether thisrelatively solid investment can serve as an assurance that China will notremain indifferent to developments in the receiving countries. Prior to Libya’scollapse in 2011, China invested about $19 billion there but has seemed to putout of the mind its losses with relative ease.

To conclude, the potential for intensifiedinterstate and inter-regional cooperation in Eurasia is not only and not somuch a transport project as a co-development project involving countries in theregion. This macro-region possesses a huge potential based on its economicvigor, rich mineral resources, Chinese investments, and common institutionaland legal projects like the EAEU, the SCO, and the CSTO. All of this createsprerequisites for the revival of the original Silk Road as a continental beltof trade, economic, and cultural cooperation between adjacent states, whichenables them to gain wealth and prosperity.

Our aim is to make the strategicrapprochement and unprecedented trust between Russia and China unalterable. Ourrelations must become more transparent and their cooperative philosophy moremature. They need to assume a long-term strategic nature and rest on a firminstitutional foundation. It is also necessary to prevent external forces frombeing able to kindle distrust between Russia and China. Citizens of bothcountries need to expand contacts and this can be accomplished by introducingvisa-free travel. This will make it possible, as early as in the mid-term, tocome close to establishing in Eurasia a new international political entity basedon common interests and many shared values.

Major task for now is to determine whatinstitutional forms would be optimal to make the emergence of a community ofinterests and values in Central Eurasia irreversible. These institutional formsneed to be comprehensive and inclusive, combining politics and economics aswell as “soft” and “hard” power. They have to be palatable for the great,mid-sized, and small powers. China and Russia hold in their hands potentiallyexceptional institutions for international cooperation and development:Eurasian integration, financial institutions of the Silk Road and the AsianInfrastructure Investment Bank, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, ASEANmultilateral formats, and much else. It requires more effort and furtherperfection to make them mutually complementary.