【High-level Interview】Boris Guseletov: China’s Development Will Be Very Good in the Future

I see that China’s leadership has tried to keep on the one hand, the old traditions of Chinese politics and culture, whilst on the other hand, give a chance to make China more modern and give China a chance to be one of the best economic players in the world.

Editor’s Note: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). It amazes people that China, which could barely feed its people 70 years ago, has turned into one that is building a well-off society in an all-round way.

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PRC, China Focus launches a series of in-depth interviews with renowned academics, diplomats and high-level officials from abroad, sharing their views on China’s development and how the relationship between China and the world has been changing over the past 70 years, as well as their vision for the future.

Boris Guseletov is a senior fellow at The Institute of Europe, Russian Academy of Sciences and an advisor of the State Duma (the Lower House of Russia’s Parliament). He has spent many years working in China, witnessing China’s rapid development with each passing day.

In this exclusive interview with China Focus, Boris shares his opinion on China’s important relationship with Russia and how the bilateral relations have developed over the last 70 years. He also comments on China role as the second largest economy in the world and offers his views on what this means for China and the world.

On Oct 2, 1949, the day after the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the Soviet Union became the first country to establish diplomatic relations with China, ushering in years of friendly cooperation.

China Focus:How would you describe the current relationship between China and Russia and how will their relationship develop in the future?

Boris Guseletov: I think Russia (it was a major part of former Soviet Union) and China’s relationship, which is celebrating seventy years of diplomatic relations this year, has gone through different periods. In the beginning, we (former Soviet Union and China) had very good relations and supported China economically but then it cooled during Khrushchev’s leadership, until the Soviet Union collapsed.

Now, we are experiencing a new period of good relations which are very peaceful and very friendly. We have a good relationship economically, politically but there are some problems. Firstly, the economic situation in Russia is not good. If you compare Russia and China, China is now the stronger economic actor. Russia has good opportunities for cooperation with China politically and militarily, but they should develop their economic relations to create a balance between the two countries.

I think this relationship should develop in a positive way. If Russia and China can cooperate on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) or combine the BRI with the Russian Eurasian Economic Union initiative, it will be better for Russia, for our people and for the world.

Many international academicians think that the world is going to become a multipolar system and Russia and China should play a very important role in this new system. We have different cultures, we have different economic levels and political levels, but Russia and China share the same approach to developing a peaceful world without sanctions and conflict. For this reason, I think our cooperation is very important to the world.

The direct cargo train between Yantai in Shandong province and Duisburg in Germany is launched on July 26, 2019. (Photo/China Daily)

I think that the Belt and Road which combines and unites China, countries of central Asia, the Far East, Europe and Russia, is very important because this kind of initiative unites these countries and helps them to develop in a more peaceful way against an American approach, which is based on conflict, sanctions and war.

I don’t agree with the way in which US president Donald Trump has behaved over the last two years. We need more peaceful and friendlier relations between countries and between peoples. I hope that Russia and China can work together on this road and get more and more countries involved in this process.

China Focus:How would you evaluate China’s development over the past 70 years? What do you think of China’s role in helping other developing countries in the future?

Boris Guseletov: I think that China has gone through different periods of development over the past 70 years. In mid-20th Century, China was not so strong economically.

But now China is one of the two biggest global economic players in the world. And since Chinese President Xi Jinping became leader of this country, they have tried to play a more active role in world politics and humanitarianism. In addition to keeping economic development, I think that China will participate more actively in international affairs, working with other countries in humanitarianism to help developing countries in Asia and Africa.

China Focus: Is there anything you would like to say to China and Chinese people as the 70th birthday of PRC is approaching?

Boris Guseletov: I believe that China’s development in the near future will be very good.

I see that China’s leadership has tried to keep on the one hand, the old traditions of Chinese politics and culture, whilst on the other hand, give a chance to make China more modern and give China a chance to be one of the best economic players in the world. For this reason, I wish the Chinese people to keep this destination, to be more open, more active in the international field and to help other countries develop. And I think that China will do better.

Editors: Liana, Jamie Leigh Wright