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The development of technology and globalisation of economic relations are turning the huge Eurasian expanses into an attractive site for international infrastructure projects. The largest one of them is the New Silk Road, which has been initiated by China and will connect it to Europe and later to Central Asia and Africa. Over 40 countries have so far signed cooperation agreements with China. Russia, however, proposes a broader approach, advocating a big Eurasian partnership.
Russia and China agreed to cooperate on aligning the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in 2015. For Russia, it is not only about the advantages of Chinese goods transit via Russia and the EAEU, but also about a broader approach to the integration process in Eurasia.
“I believe that by adding together the potential of all the integration formats like the EAEU, the One Belt, One Road, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, we can build the foundation for a larger Eurasian partnership,” President Vladimir Putin said at the May summit in China. “This is the approach that, we believe, should be applied to the agenda proposed today by the People’s Republic of China.”
“We would welcome the involvement of our European colleagues from the EU states in this partnership. This would make it truly concordant, balanced and all-encompassing, and will allow us to realise a unique opportunity to create a common cooperation framework from the Atlantic to the Pacific –for the first time in history.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping mentioned the following achievements of the New Silk Road over the four years:
China is Russia’s leading economic partner, accounting for 14% of its foreign trade turnover.
At present, experts from Lomonosov Moscow State University and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences are working on a concept of a bigger Eurasian partnership.
However, implementation of the ambitious plans of both Russia and China is stalled by a number of factors: