How China Translating Economic Development Into Geopolitical Gains

© REUTERS / Damir Sagolj Chinese President Xi Jinping makes a toast at the beginning of the welcoming banquet at the Great Hall of the People during the first day of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China, May 14, 2017
Chinese President Xi Jinping makes a toast at the beginning of the welcoming banquet at the Great Hall of the People during the first day of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China, May 14, 2017 - Sputnik International
China is increasing its political influence in the global arena due to its economic strength and sustainable development, experts told Sputnik, explaining what to watch out for at the 2017 BRICS Summit, which is due to take place in the Chinese city of Xiamen on September 4-5.

China is converting its economic strength into increasing political influence on the global stage, Alexander Larin, leading researcher of the Institute of Far Eastern Studies, told Sputnik China, referring to the upcoming BRICS Summit which is due to kick off Sunday in the southern Chinese city of Xiamen.

Larin emphasized that this year Beijing has proposed building a broader partnership in the framework of the BRICS Plus mechanism and invited the leaders of Thailand, Egypt, Mexico, Guinea and Tajikistan to take part in the summit.

"This is a novelty," Larin told Sputnik, "It is aimed at bolstering the significance and the sphere of influence of BRICS. Simultaneously, this format is being strengthened internally while the image of the 'five' is being improved. Additionally, the role of China is increasing."

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By taking the initiative to expand the number of partners of BRICS Beijing has demonstrated that it is determined to translate its economic power into global political strength, the academic surmised.

Ahead of the long-anticipated summit the question on everyone's mind was whether China and India would resolve a standoff at the Donglang (Doklam) plateau border region. The tension was eased on August 28.

According to Andrei Volodin, an expert at the Institute for Topical International Problems of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Diplomatic Academy, the importance of the upcoming summit contributed to the decision of Chinese and Indian military and diplomats to reach a compromise on the border issue.

Volodin stressed, that Modi's absence at the summit could have come as a signal of India's adopting a policy of "self-isolation." He specified that New Delhi had earlier made a few steps in that direction when it refused to take part in China's Belt and Road Forum in Beijing this May.

Would have New Delhi benefitted from this policy? Unlikely, Volodin believes.

Although India has the support of Japan and the United States, their assistance is mostly of "moral" nature rather than "practical" one, the expert told Sputnik, adding that the US doesn't view India as its priority partner.

"Narendra Modi is a person who tries to get above the clashes of interests," Volodin said, "At this very summit he has an opportunity to discuss the problems of the Indian-Chinese border and the behavior of both parties at the line of territorial disengagement with a broader circle of [political players]."

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On the other hand, it deserves special attention that the BRICS Summit in Xiamen will take place amid Beijing's implementing its China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, the expert highlighted, adding that New Delhi doesn't approve this plan, arguing that the corridor goes through the part of the Kashmir region claimed by both India and Pakistan.

According to Volodin, tensions simmering between China and India could be solved within the BRICS format, especially given the fact that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor initiative is of great importance for Beijing.

The BRICS format has indeed gained a great significance and increased its influence on global affairs over the recent years, Ren Yuanzhe, an expert of the Diplomatic Academy of China, told Sputnik.

"BRICS has become a representative of developing countries and a newborn economic entity, which plays an important role in global governance," Ren emphasized, "BRICS is also a platform for practical cooperation, which has borne fruit in recent years."

The Chinese expert believes that at the summit in Xiamen, the results of BRICS' activities will be summed up and a roadmap for closer cooperation outlined.

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For its part, Russia is planning to discuss the issues of investments and multi-lateral cooperation in trade and production at the Xiamen meeting. In his article "BRICS: Towards New Horizons of Strategic Partnership" which was published ahead of the summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasized the importance of cooperation between the organization's members in the field of politics, economic development and culture and called for "promoting the interaction of the BRICS countries in the area of global information security."

BRICS is an association of five developing economies, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The organization founded in 2006 is aimed at enhancement of economic cooperation both within the bloc and with other international institutions. From the very beginning bilateral relations among BRICS members have been conducted on the basis of non-interference, equality, and mutual benefit.

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