Pragmatism breathes new life into Sino-Russian relations
Note: The following article is taken from the Chinese-language "Commentaries on International Affairs."
Chinese premier Li Keqiang held talks with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev during an official visit to Russia from 16th to 18th September. This 24th regular meeting between the Chinese and Russian government leaders was yet another important high-level exchange between the two sides, and was also designed to translate into reality the outcomes of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Russia in June.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (L) and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev co-chair the 24th regular meeting between Chinese and Russian heads of government in St. Petersburg, Russia on Tuesday, September 17, 2019. [Photo: Xinhua]
In the 70 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Russia, the two sides have regarded each other as their diplomatic priorities, and have established a new model of state relations characterized by "non-alignment", "no confrontation" and "not targeting third parties", as well as a mechanism featuring complete high-level exchanges and cooperation in various fields. This has helped form an all-round, deep-level and three-dimensional mutually beneficial cooperation pattern. In June this year, when Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Russia, he and President Vladimir Putin upgraded Sino-Russian relations into a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era. This means that the strategic mutual trust has reached an unprecedented high level.
In accordance with the plans of the Chinese and Russian leaders, the two sides are seeking to deepen pragmatic cooperation and expand common interests as an important direction for the development of Sino-Russian relations. It’s particularly gratifying that last year, the trade volume between China and Russia exceeded 100 billion US dollars for the first time, an increase of 27.1%. China has become Russia's largest trading partner for 9 years in a row. Against the background of a marked slowdown in global trade and investment, the trade volume between China and Russia increased to 70.59 billion US dollars in the first eight months of this year, an increase of 4.5% year-on-year. This shows that Sino-Russian cooperation has abundant vitality and broad prospects. A new era of warm ties in both the political and economic fields has come.
According to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, the two countries plan to increase bilateral trade volume to 200 billion U.S. dollars by 2024. Both the joint communique issued after the meeting between the two prime ministers and the cooperation documents signed by the two sides in the fields of economy, trade, investment, agriculture, nuclear energy, aerospace and digital economy show clearly that China and Russia will have more pragmatic cooperation in multiple fields.
For example, the two sides decided to exchange information on eliminating obstacles in bilateral trade and investment cooperation on a regular basis, and raise the level of trade facilitation; implement investment projects in Russia’s Siberia and the Far East; hold a launching ceremony of production and supply for the China-Russia East-Route Natural Gas Pipeline project within this current year; expand the use of local currencies in bilateral trade and investment; expand the mutual import of high-quality agricultural products, and strengthen scientific and technological cooperation in the fields of aerospace and communications technology. China and Russia are also expected to strengthen cooperation for the sustainable development of the Arctic and promote the development and utilization of the Arctic waterway.
It is foreseeable that with the joint efforts of both sides, China's industrial, capital and market advantages will better match Russia's resources, technology and talents. The Sino-Russian cooperation will focus on upgrading from the traditional energy sector to the high-tech sector. The economic and social development of the two countries has injected new impetus to better benefit the two peoples.
Both China and Russia firmly support economic globalization and free trade, and defend the authority of the United Nations and multilateralism. During this meeting, the two sides reaffirmed their adherence to the core values and basic principles of the multilateral trading system centered on the rules of the World Trade Organization, and agreed to promote the alignment of the “Belt and Road Initiative” with the Eurasian Economic Union.
After 70 years, Sino-Russian relations stand at a new starting point. Their advance will not only help the two countries achieve revitalization, but will also make new contributions to the establishment of new international relations, the building of a community of shared future for mankind, and the safeguarding of world peace and stability.