The world's top 20 economies plan to meet in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires next Friday, but if the APEC Summit is any precedent to go by, then the existing US-Chinese trade tensions might once again prevent another multinational organization from releasing a joint statement. This would in effect hamper the working efficiency of the group that helped the world emerge from the 2008 Financial Crisis and possibly lead to its members being forced to choose between the US or China.
It's with this context in mind that President Putin's upcoming meeting with Trump on the sidelines of this global event takes on such a strategic significance. The Kremlin already indicated that the Russian leader wants to discuss strategic issues such as nuclear agreements and conflict hotspots like Syria, but it's also likely that the dynamics of the impending New Cold War between the US and China will also be on the itinerary. Russia's international economic position is identical to China's in that both multipolar Great Powers support the interrelated processes of free trade and globalization, though America might try to convince Russia to reconsider its stance if Trump fearmongers about the People's Republic during his private meeting with President Putin.
There's close to no chance that Russia will abandon its strategic partnership with China, but Moscow might be tempted to slow down its full spectrum integration with it in order to form the core of a revived "Non-Aligned Movement" aimed at "balancing" between Beijing and Washington in the New Cold War. Furthermore, there's also the possibility that a so-called "truce" might be reached between China and the US before then, like some media reports have been speculating, which could make the G20 much more of a success than APEC was. Either way, it's unquestionable that the US-Chinese rivalry is becoming one of the most defining factors of this century thus far, and that all players are naturally competing for the best possible position vis-à-vis both of them.
Andrew Korybko is joined by Louis Lim, international management consultant and former university lecturer on Asian Management who has seen and participated in Asian economic development since the seventies, and Tim Kirby, an award winning American radio host and political analyst in Russia.
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