The Policy Dialogue was organised to discuss major issues of cross-Eurasian multilateral cooperation and competition in the context of a changing international environment. It involved the consortium network of experts and politicians, established during the “Developing Asia Pacific’s Last Frontier: International Cooperation in the Development of Russia’s Far East and Siberia” multinational project, in addition to attracting new participants from leading policy, research, and academic institutes world-wide. The event was a platform for diverse opinions from high-level experts and policy practitioners from Canada, China, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.
The Policy Dialogue took place in the context of new and important changes in international relations that are now shaping Eurasia’s geopolitical space. Russia’s “Turn to the East” strategy, aimed at accelerated development of Russia’s Far East and Siberia, and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) are intersecting with China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI, previously referenced as the One Belt, One Road), aimed at creating new infrastructural and economic “corridors” linking Asia and Europe. In this context, and contrary to the predictions of growing competition between China and Russia in Greater Eurasia, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping seemingly reached an agreement to combine China’s BRI agenda and Russia’s EAEU project, which increases the complexity of China-Europe relations as well as overall continental geopolitics. Simultaneously, the election of the 45th president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, and what is now known as “Brexit” have arguably shaken what seemed to be the pillars of the liberal world order and the system that rules it.
International cooperation in the exploration of resources in the Arctic and the use of alternative shipping routes from Asia to Europe via the Northern Sea Route (NSR), which is a region of traditional interests for Russia, Norway, the United States, and of growing interest for China, Singapore, and other Asian states, also add a dimension to discussions of peace and security across Eurasia. The Policy Dialogue was held as a by-invitation only event and followed the Chatham House Rule.