Contrasting Russian and Chinese perspectives on the future of Asia
The initial hypothesis of this research was that divergent regional perspectives on Asia- issues of security, political alignment and economic models- were a primary cause of the thirty-year Sino-Soviet Cold War. This implied that future stable relations between Russia and China would continue to be strongly influenced by the compatibility of their regional perspectives. Sustaining such compatability would become increasingly complex, however, due to change within Asia itself, particularly with regard to Asia's emergence as one of the centres of the new global economy. Asian modernisation is significant for Russia and China not only in terms of domestic development as they abandon the command economy, but politically since the creation of a regional economy is being promoted as a means of neutralising the tensions in the region which arise from Asia's heterodox nature in terms of culture, ethnicity and social system. The central chapters of the thesis are, therefore, concerned with comparing Russian and Chinese assessments of the Asian economy on several levels: Asia's place in their foreign economic relations in the reform era; Asia's role in their domestic development: and their assessment of the significance of the Asian economy as an economic model and as an emerging regional economy. These assessments are then set against Russian and Chinese perspectives on their role as Asian powers and their security and diplomatic relations in Asia. The conclusion of the paper is that Asia is rising in importance for both states, though not equally.