ISLAMABAD: Russia’s joining of CPEC will be an opportunity for China, Russia and Pakistan to enhance cooperation, Chinese Tabloid Global Times said in a report on Saturday.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), as a flagship project of the One Belt and One Road (OBOR) initiative, has drawn a great deal of investments. Pakistan has already approved a Russian request for using the Gwadar Port, for its exports.
What’s more, Russia as China’s strategic partner, a member of BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has been advancing the Sino-Russian “the Belt and the Union” (the Silk Road Economic Belt and the EAEU) and a broader Eurasian partnership. Russia’s participation in the CPEC, including the use of the Gwadar Port, could give a boost to Sino-Russian cooperation and be a demonstration project of OBOR that will enhance future multinational cooperation, the newspaper argued.
Second, Russia and Pakistan are both friendly toward China. Pakistan, the now observer of the SCO, officially submitted its full membership application to the organization. The SCO has launched its decision process on the admittance of Pakistan and India.
As for Russia-Pakistan relations and Russia’s role in the CPEC, China is deemed as a stakeholder in the affairs and has certain influences. But China will not intervene in Russia-Pakistan relations.
In addition, Pakistan follows the balance of power theory and conducts open diplomacy in a bid to maximize its national interests, which is beyond reproach. The Gwadar Port can also be used by countries like Iran and Turkmenistan for trade.
Given the prevailing globalization and regional integration, it is not possible, realistic or necessary, for any country to monopolize one country’s economic affairs.
Third, India has been opposed to the CPEC due to the long-term tension between New Delhi and Islamabad, and its historical border disputes with China. Traditionally, Russia has developed a very good relationship with India, as well as China and Pakistan.
Russia’s presence in the CPEC would help prevent the international community, including India, from paying excessive attention to China and remove the unnecessary worries over the so-called China threat. The cooperation between BRICS countries like China, Russia and India is the key to the success of OBOR development, the newspaper emphasized.
Russia’s involvement in the CPEC is to serve its own interests in economy and geopolitics, which may complicate regional affairs. But if all parties stick to the market rules, China’s interests wouldn’t be harmed given that China has gained first-mover advantage, as well as capital and geographic advantages.
If Russia joins the project, it will be a stakeholder which shares economic risk, especially security risk, and has the same or similar goals.