Context: The 23rd St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) was recently held in St. Petersburg, Russia.
About the Forum
- St. Petersburg International Economic Forum is Russia’s annual investment gathering.
- Tensions between the U.S. and the Russia: Russia’s annual investment gathering was boycotted by the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman.
- It was due to the detention of U.S. private equity investor Michael Calvey on allegations of fraud.
- Conversely, the Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturer Huawei signed an agreement with Russia’s principal mobile operator to start 5G networks, in a rebuff to Washington’s attempts to isolate the firm internationally.
- Russia’s tensions with the U.S. and some EU countries stem also from their opposition to the 1,200-km-long Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.
- U.S. objections draw in part from its eagerness to export liquefied natural gas to Europe, besides thwarting Moscow’s ambition to dominate the region’s energy market
What is the new Russia-China bonhomie?
- Notably, China participated in Russian military exercises on its eastern border recently, marking a watershed.
- Russia appears realistic about the growing Chinese economic influence in Central Asia.
- This is primarily driven by China’s massive infrastructure investments under the Belt and Road Initiative.
- For Russia, Chinese cooperation would also prove critical for its plans to exploit the Northern Sea Route along the Arctic as an alternative transportation hub.
- Besides, international sanctions have not been very effective in isolating Russia.
- European states, notably Germany, recognise the importance of engaging with Russia to contain Mr. Putin’s expansionist aims.
- Equally, President Donald Trump’s “America first” policy is compelling potential rivals to make common cause.