Yerevan State University Holds 2nd China-Eurasia Conference

The second edition of the “Eurasian Research on Modern China and Eurasia” conference took place at Yerevan State University. The conference, which was organized by “‘China-Eurasia’ Council for Political and Strategic Research” and Yerevan State University, took place from November 1 to 2.

In her opening speech, Lena Nazaryan, Vice President of the National Assembly of Armenia, emphasized the importance of strengthening cooperation between Armenia and China. She also mentioned that agreement on trade and economic cooperation between the Eurasian Economic Union and the People’s Republic of China will provide an added impetus to develop economic relations in both bilateral and multilateral levels.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the PRC to Armenia, Tian Erlong, noted; “I am very pleased to attend the ‘Eurasian Research on Modern China and Eurasia Conference’ dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PRC, which is organized by Yerevan State University and ‘China-Eurasia’ Council for Political and Strategic Research.” He added that China and the World are experiencing unprecedented changes of international patterns for the past 100 years. In response to various global issues and challenges and continuous improvement of global governance capabilities, China is willing to make efforts with countries all over the world, including the Eurasian region, adhering to the path of peaceful development, multilateralism, and to the strategy of mutual benefit, win-win and openness, against the hegemonism and power politics, to contribute in building a new type of international relations and community of human destiny.

In turn, Vice-Rector for International Cooperation and Public Relations of the Yerevan State University, Dr. Artur H. Israyelyan, said that deepening relations with China is one of the foreign policy priorities of Armenia. Yerevan aims to strengthen Armenia’s role in the Eurasian region by also expanding relations with China. He expressed hope that the “Eurasian Research on Modern China and Eurasia” conference would be of importance to this process.

The director of “China-Eurasia” Council for Political and Strategic Research and the founder of the “Eurasian Research on Modern China and Eurasia” conference mentioned that the geopolitical, economic, and security changes taking place in the Eurasian continent would be discussed. He added that the main aim of the conference is to focus on China’s pivot toward a Eurasian continent through its Belt and Road initiative, the U.S. pivot to the Asia-Pacific region, EAEU, and E.U. integration projects in Eurasia. He stated that the Asia-pacific region stood the main center of economic developments of the world, it is already fact and all states must think about their own political and economic involvement with this region and of course, China, as a young superpower has its very important role here.

The following panels of the conference followed the opening ceremony:

The first panel was “China, Eurasia and the New World Order,” where Professor Dr. Heinz Gärtner (International Institute for Peace and University of Vienna, Chair of the Advisory Committee for Strategy and Security Policy of the Scientific Commission at the Austrian Armed Forces, Austria) delivered his keynote speech on “Eurasia between Multipolarity and Multilateralism.” Professor Dr. Süha Atatüre (Head of the Department of International Relations, Istanbul Gedik University, Turkey) joined the conference via video call. His keynote speech was titled, “The Globalization, Our World and China Today.” In his keynote speech, Dr. Zheng Yuntian (Deputy Director of the World Socialism Institute, Renmin University of China, PRC) emphasized the importance of building a community with a shared future for mankind and the new international vision of the Chinese development model. He was followed by Dr. Mher D. Sahakyan (Director, “China-Eurasia” Council for Political and Strategic Research), who introduced his research on China’s national security and Belt and Road Initiative.

The second panel was named “China and the Global Leadership,” where Dr. Anahit Parzyan (“China-Eurasia” Council for Political and Strategic Research) spoke about China’s cyber policy and introduced Beijing’s capabilities for global cyber leadership. In turn, Dr. Sudhir Kumar Singh (University of Delhi, India) delivered a speech on challenges and opportunities between triangle relations of ASEAN-China. Alexander Korolev (Deputy Head, Eurasian Sector, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russia) introduced his research, which was called “EAEU-China: Connecting Eurasia.” The second panel was chaired by Professor Dr. Heinz Gärtner.

The third panel focused on China’s Belt and Road initiative, and the world. This Russian language panel started with a keynote speech by Professor Dr. Konstantin Kurylev (RUDN University, Russia), who spoke about the features of implementation and development prospects of the Belt and Road Initiative. Konstantin Tasits (Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, Russia) continued the conversation by speaking about China’s Policy in South Caucasus in the context of Belt and Road Initiative. Evelina Moravska (Ph.D Candidate, Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland) introduced her research on China’s policy in the region of Caspian Sea. This panel was chaired by Dr. Artur H. Israyelyan.

The fourth panel was dedicated to China’s policy in Western Balkans, during which Professor Dr. Boris Vukićević (Vice-Rector, University of Montenegro, Montenegro) introduced China’s policy in the Western Balkans as a new player in the strategic game. The panel was chaired by Dr. Zheng Yuntian.

The second day of the “Eurasian Research on Modern China and Eurasia” conference started with the “China and Eurasia” panel.

Dr. Yu Tao (University of Western Australia, Australia) introduced his research on religions and China’s diplomatic endeavors in Eurasia (1979 – 2019). In turn, Yeghia Tashjian from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon dedicated his speech to China’s policy on Iranian nuclear issue and China’s Energy Security. Dr. Larisa Smirnova shared her thoughts about some differences between Russian and Chinese understanding of the meaning of “developing” and “developed” states during this panel, which was chaired by Dr. Varuzhan Geghamyan (Assistant Professor, Yerevan State University/ Director, ARDI Institute, Armenia). During this panel, speakers and attendees also discussed the meaning of the term “Eurasia” from the different schools’ perspectives.

The next panel was called “China, Policy, Subcultures and Information.” This Russian language panel started with a keynote speech by Dr. Hovhannes Sargsyan (Head, Department of Political Science, Russian-Armenian University, Armenia). His paper was dedicated to cultural and civilizational foundations of Chinese strategic culture. In turn, Dr. Nadezhda Kotelnikova (Volgograd State Pedagogical University, Russia) delivered a speech on Chinese city subcultures in the context of urban communication studies. Dr. Kotelnikova was followed by Michal Marek (Ph.D Candidate, Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland), who introduced his research on factors and events that shape the image of China in the Polish information space. Dr. Anton Evstratov (Russian-Armenian University, Armenia) spoke about China’s policy in the Central Asia. Andranik Hovhannisyan’s (Russian-Armenian University, Armenia) paper was titled “Russia and China ‘A New Big Game’ in the Central Asia.” Lastly, Ruzanna Airapetova (Ph.D Student, Russian-Armenian University, Armenia) delivered a speech on public diplomacy of China and Armenia. This panel was chaired by Dr. Hovhannes Sargsyan.

The seventh panel was dedicated to China’s role in the Shanghai Cooperation organization and its relations with NATO. During this panel, Slobodan Popovic (Ph.D Candidate, University of Belgrade, Serbia) spoke about the geopolitical role of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization within the Belt and Road Initiative. Dr. Anna Zalinyan (Public Administration Academy of RA, Armenia) introduced her research on the NATO-China Council relationship in political-military dimensions. Dr. Saren Abgaryan (Shanghai Jiatong University, PRC) changed the direction of the panel by introducing China’s new foreign investment law from the viewpoint of foreign companies in China. The aforementioned panel was chaired by Dr. Anahit Parzyan. In the last panel, Giulia Sciorati (University of Trento), who joined the conference via video call, raised and answered the following question: “Is the Belt and Road Initiative under Siege?” In turn, Elisa Gambino (Ph.D Candidate, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, U.K.) introduced her research on Chinese participation in Kenyan Transport Infrastructure Projects.

During the conference, an exhibition titled, “Beautiful China” was also organized by the support of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Armenia. Speakers also visited Yerevan State University’s history museum.

Among honorable guests of the conference were the senior councilor of the Embassy of Russian Federation in Armenia, Aleksander Ananev, Councilor of the PRC Embassy in Armenia, Zhou Hongyou, Councilor of the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Armenia, Asel Isimova, Ambassador Dr. Arman Navasardyan, Dr. Robert Ghazaryan (Vice Director, IOS, NAS), attaché of the Embassy of Russian Federation in Armenia, Dmitri Demkin, and other diplomats and scholars.

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