S. Sevastianov, Far Eastern Federal University, 20, FEFU Campus, Russian Island, Vladivostok, 690922, Russian Federation (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Until recently, only economically developed West-oriented states launched integration initiatives encompassing the entire Asia-Pacific region. However, over the last few years Beijing proposed several such initiatives embracing territories from America to Africa. The paper discusses the changes in Chinese views towards the leadership in modern world. Recent events in Syria, Ukraine, South China Sea and East China Sea made it clear that the world becomes more polycentric, with Russia and China resistant to external interference in the territories of their vital interests. The latest trends in East Asian and Asia-Pacific regionalism are singled out. China and USA have been the main rivals in initiating and supporting competing integration models. China has demonstrated unprecedented activity and launched several integration projects of trans-regional (Asia-Pacific and Eurasia) and on regional levels (East Asia). However, despite its growing geopolitical and economic aspirations, Beijing is not frontally challenging Washington-led system of intergovernmental agreements and financial institutions in Asia. Instead, Beijing is forming an alternative pro-Chinese model of integration without US participation (or with their secondary role) thus trying to gradually transform the Asia-Pacific to post-American hegemony model. President Xi Jinping put forward a concept of “Asia-Pacific Dream”. It incorporates formation of the “Silk Road Economic Belt” and the “New Maritime Silk Road” that will link the economies of Asia, Europe and Africa. By proposing these large scale infrastructure projects and two new regional financial institutions (Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank and New Development Bank), the Chinese leadership renewed its global and regional politics, attempting to create a Eurasian “economic corridor” which could serve not only its regional and global interests, but for the common good of whole Asia and the world. Obviously, “New Silk Roads” strategy faces geopolitical and other challenges; yet, even it partial realization would make China a leader of the continental part of Eurasia. In terms of global and regional governance these trends can be strengthened through coordinated policy of Moscow and Beijing towards including these projects into the agenda of non-Western intergovernmental institutions, such as BRICS, SCO, Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), and others. Moreover, strategic cooperation with Russia is one of the principal factors to secure the success of China’s integration plans in the Asia-Pacific and especially in Eurasia. For its part, Moscow should deepen interaction and effectively utilize the resources of “rising” China to support Russia’s interests in Eurasia and the Asia-Pacific. It is necessary for Moscow to coordinate efforts with Central Asian states and China to elaborate co-development plans for infrastructural initiatives put forward by the SCO, EEU and the “Silk Road Economic Belt”. At the same time, Moscow should increasingly encourage Chinese investment into the Russian Far East.
Acknowledgements. This article has been prepared in the framework of contract with the RF Ministry of Education and Science “Formation of the New International Order in the Asia-Pacific and National Interests of Russia”, project ¹ 1430.
Asia-Pacific integration, Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, “Asia-Pacific dream”, “New Silk Roads”, China, Asia-Pacific Region
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