Steven Oliver, University of California at San Diego
Kang Yoon Hee of Kookmin University began as moderator by highlighting the similarities between China and Russia as increasingly prosperous countries that have recently experienced leadership turnover. Kang then raised the question of how recent turnover in the leadership of both China and Russia might affect future bilateral relations and where the panelists saw potential for convergence or divergence in the interests of the two states.
Andrey Kortunov from the Russian International Affairs Council addressed these questions by noting that though current bilateral relations are at a high point, issues still remain. Kortunov then posed a normative vision for bilateral relations whereby China and Russia might develop a relationship similar to that of the United States and Canada within the decade by emulating some of the key features of the US-Canada relationship. Although Kortunov was careful to stress that failure to emulate these features was not a guarantee of a bilateral relationship characterized by conflict, he suggested successful emulation would assure much smoother bilateral relations between China and Russia in the long run.
Sergey Lukonin of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations also recognized that bilateral relations appear to be at a high point, but focused attention on the potential sources of divergence in the future. In particular, Lukonin focused on the problem that current relations between China and Russia are largely based upon trade in energy resources with China. Whereas Russia may be capable of serving China