Chinese premier visits Russia for stronger ties in new era
Three months after China-Russia relations were elevated to a higher level, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang travels again to the neighboring country for an official visit, a key move for the two countries to further increase mutual trust and build up stronger partnerships on various fronts.
Chinese and Russian national flags flutter on a lamppost in front of Tiananmen Rostrum. [File Photo: IC]
During his stay from Monday to Wednesday in Russia, the Chinese premier will co-chair the 24th regular meeting between the two countries' heads of government with Dmitry Medvedev in St. Petersburg. Li will also meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
It is another important high-level interaction between China and Russia after Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit in June, in which he and Putin decided to upgrade the already close ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era.
At a time when globalization is facing hurdles and the world is seeing growing uncertainties, China and Russia, with Li's visit, are expected to show their firm commitments to multilateralism and a more equitable and stable world order.
TIES IN A NEW ERA
The visit comes as the two neighbors are celebrating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Seven decades on, ties between Beijing and Moscow have reached an unprecedentedly high level.
The two partners, sharing common ground on a wide range of issues, firmly support each other on issues of major concern and in defending their core interests.
Thanks to the strategic guidance of Xi and Putin, China and Russia have set a good example for major-country relations that feature equality and mutual benefit rather than power politics.
In June, the two leaders jointly outlined a clearer direction for the future of China-Russia relations, giving new vitality not only to win-win cooperation but also to global development and stability.
A major goal of the Li-Medvedev meeting is to promote the implementation of major consensuses reached by the two heads of state, deepen the integration of interests and consolidate the material basis of bilateral relations, Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng said ahead of the visit.
According to Xu Poling, director of the Russian Economy Office of the Institute of Russia, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), both China and Russia have strong will to pursue development and need a stable external environment, and that lays a solid foundation for the two countries to expand ties.
In an interview with a Russian newspaper Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke highly of the two countries' ties, saying that "the fabric of bilateral interaction is so dense that no third force can drive a wedge in it."
COOPERATION GOES FURTHER
With concerted efforts from both governments and both peoples, China and Russia have seen fruitful results as all-level practical cooperation continuously strengthens and their interests are interconnected even closer.
In 2018, bilateral trade between China and Russia hit a record high of over 100 billion U.S. dollars. By the end of July, the two countries' trade volume reached 61.13 billion dollars, a 4.7-percent year-on-year increase.
To further enhance cooperation and regional connectivity, China and Russia are working to increase the two-way trade to 200 billion dollars by 2024, a target set by the two heads of state.
Meanwhile, the two nations are preparing for a two-year-long program designed to find more chances to boost cooperation in science and technology and innovation and enhance their national competitiveness.
Li and Medvedev, said Le, will hold in-depth talks focusing on how to expand economic and trade cooperation and improve the quality of cooperation in technology and innovation.
Considering the great potential in bilateral cooperation, Xu believes the visit will offer new opportunities for the two sides to enrich their comprehensive collaboration in such areas as energy, trade, investment, agricultural industry as well as people-to-people exchanges.
Sun Zhuangzhi, head of the Institute of Russia, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies of CASS, said the two countries' cooperation keeps sound momentum in multiple dimensions and, with the implementation of a series of deals, will for sure unleash more potential.
STRONG VOICE FOR MULTILATERISM
Beijing and Moscow have a shared vision for world order. Both are strong champions for a more democratic and multipolar international system, which means the world is based on equal interaction among several major centers instead of being dominated by one power.
Both are major countries in terms of size and global influence, Sun said, highlighting their cooperation on and contributions to global affairs within such multilateral frameworks as BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
However, protectionism poses a big threat to the prospect of global growth. In late July, the International Monetary Fund further reduced its global growth outlook to 3.2 percent for this year, the weakest since the financial crisis 10 years ago.
To face the challenges, China, the second largest economy in the world, has undertaken a series of opening-up measures including expanding imports, creating a favorable environment for business and better protecting intellectual properties.
Under such circumstances, the world hopes China and Russia will reaffirm opposition to unilateral moves and trade protectionism during Li's visit and send a strong message that the two countries will stay committed to improving global governance and promoting free trade and open economy, Xu said.
As China and Russia are playing bigger roles on the world stage, their relations carry global significance, said Sun, stressing that it is necessary for the two countries to stand together and push for a more integrated and stable world.