China and Russia
China and Russia both underwent political transition in 2012. While China has become the world’s second-largest economy and increased its political stature in the international community, Russia has also made significant progress in recovering its past political and economic influence. How will Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin advance China-Russia relations? What will be the major points of mutual interest for the two countries economically and strategically? On what issues might they diverge? How will China and Russia cooperate to reshape Northeast Asian regional architecture? What are the Chinese and Russian perspectives on each other’s development, including China’s rise and Russia seeking to develop its Far Eastern provinces?
Ethnic Minorities in China
While the predominant ethnic group in China consists of the Han Chinese, the Chinese government also recognizes 55 ethnic minorities residing within mainland China. How does ethnic diversity influence China’s national identity? Will there be any changes in policies toward ethnic minorities in China under the new leadership? How will the new Chinese leadership manage ethnic minorities and identity politics? In particular, how will the new leadership make efforts to improve relations, reduce tensions, and address estrangement with minorities such as those in Xinjiang and Tibet? How can the new Chinese leadership improve minorities’ access to economic opportunities and regional economic development? How can those that feel ostracized from mainstream Chinese society acquire a sense of acceptance? How will China’s ethnic diversity affect China’s relations with neighboring countries?
China-North Korea Economic Cooperation
China and North Korea have made significant efforts to strengthen their economic cooperation, including through the increase of Chinese investment in the Special Economic Zone on the Chinese-North Korean border. While the Chinese government seeks to gain economic and strategic benefits from its cooperation with North Korea, it must also calculate the costs of those relations. This session will examine how China’s new leadership will address economic cooperation with North Korea, particularly during Kim Jung-un’s attempts to consolidate his regime. How does North Korea perceive its economic and political dependency on China? How does Chinese leadership evaluate changes occurring in North Korean economic policy? Is Beijing suggesting that North Korea follow China’s reform model?