At its 13th annual conference in Sochi, Oct. 24-27, the Valdai International Discussion Club is appropriately discussing “The Future in Progress: Shaping the World of Tomorrow” with a spotlight on the emerging global order defined by China and Russia, counterposed to the “unipolar” vision of the United States and trans-Atlantic system. Lawfully, the Syrian crisis was a key topic of discussion.
Thirty-five nations and 130 “high-profile” speakers are featured at the conference, RT reports. Russian President Vladimir Putin will address the closing session tomorrow. For the first time this year, a Syrian representative, Abdullah Abdel Razzaq Al-Dardani, Deputy Executive Director of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) will be present, joining Igor Shuvalov, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister, and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for a discussion on the Syrian situation.
While speakers expressed differing viewpoints of the future of Chinese, Russian, and U.S. relations, remarks by Fu Ying, head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chinese National People’s Congress, and Mikhail Bogdanov, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister are worth highlighting.
Speaking at the panel entitled “World Order, Quo Vadis?” on Oct. 25, Fu Ying pointed to the lack of trust among world powers, noting that China and the U.S. are still “far away” from being partners on security issues, as seen in the South China Sea dispute. China “has no ‘strategy’ to challenge the U.S.-led ‘world order’,” she added, “but when [the U.S.] ostracizes the Chinese political system and security interests, it’s hard for China to think of supporting it.” In fact, she added, “China views the U.S.-dominated world order as a mess, and this is why it doesn’t want to take it over. Why should China repeat the mistakes that the U.S. made?”
After noting that the world “has shifted its agenda from bloc politics to development and cooperation,” Fu Ying pointed to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s concept of “building a community of shared interest” and the need for a “new model of global partnership.” These are reflected in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and in the Eurasian Economic Union proposed by Russia, which reinforce each other. Pointedly, she suggested that the U.S. “despite its apprehension should also find opportunities in these initiatives if it one day joins in.”
In his address to the panel “From the Middle East to Central Eurasia: an arc of instability or a space for joint action?”, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov repeated President Putin’s call for the creation of a “wide global coalition against terrorism,” noting that peace cannot be brought to Syria without Russia. “Moscow remains prepared for cooperation with all countries that are capable of making a contribution to the settlement of the Syrian crisis,” he stated.
Bogdanov also indicated that Russia is tired of America’s broken promises, and in particular, promises to separate the so-called “moderate” armed opposition from the terrorist groups. “In the long run, we have wasted too much time since February believing all these promises and agreements on ceasefire not only in Aleppo but in the entire country, to hear the Americans say they don’t have enough time.” It is regrettable, he added, that “no separation has taken place as of yet,” warning that there will be no cease-fire until that task is accomplished.