Study Times published an article on the significance of the recent Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA). The article mentioned several points.
"In 2013, China’s contribution to the world’s economic growth came close to 30 percent. Its trade with neighboring countries reached US$1.3 trillion, more than the total of the Sino-EU and the Sino-U.S. trade. For example, Sino-Russian trade amounted to nearly US$90 billion. China has become the largest trading partner for and an important investor in most CICA member states."
"China’s desire to ‘go out’ has become increasingly stronger. In recent years it has also needed to seek more international cooperation in areas such as energy and security. As Russia’s excessive dependence on energy and raw material has not fundamentally changed, and as international political factors constrain its own economic development, Russia is moving to strengthen economic and trade cooperation with China and other Asia-Pacific countries. On May 22, the US$400 billion gas deal between China and Russia highlighted the desire and sincerity for bilateral cooperation."
"Due to the impact of the South China Sea territorial disputes and the Diaoyu Islands issue, the U.S.’s military and political ‘return to Asia,’ the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), and the PSA (Plurilateral Services Agreement) that have altered global trade patterns, China’s eastward ‘opening-up’ situation faces a serious challenge, with its strategic space being threatened. At the same time, Russia and Central Asian countries’ willingness to look toward the East and other Asian countries’ willingness to ‘hook’ up with China’s economic engine continue to grow. In addition, China has no territorial disputes with Russia or with Central Asian countries. The common strategic interests in the economy and security allow an easier consensus and a mutually beneficial cooperation. Therefore the ‘open-up to the West’ strategy is likely to stand side by side with the original ‘open-up to the East’ strategy."
"Geopolitical wise, there are two routes in the open-up to the west strategy. The first route, also known as the "Maritime Silk Road," is from inland China, via southwest border provinces and southern coastal province, then Southeast Asia and South Asia countries, to West Asia and even Africa. This route is essential to our energy security and expansion in emerging markets. Another route, or "Silk Road," starts from China’s economic hubs such as the Yangtze River Delta, Beijing, Tianjin and the Hebei area, via the vast central and western regions, and via the Central Asian countries to Russia. If the international political circumstances permit, the route can extend to EU countries, forming a "Silk Road" economic corridor across Europe and Asia. Among them, Russia and Central Asian countries are energy and resource powers; China is the world’s second largest economy, the country with the largest foreign exchange reserves and the largest country in trade in goods; the EU is the world’s traditional economic and technological center. Along this route, these countries have common interests and mutual needs. The EU has so far failed to get rid of its debt crisis amid its weak recovery. EU countries are obviously willing to seek cooperation from China in the East, while they also have a considerable degree of reliance on Russian energy and resources."
Source: Study Times, June 2, 2014