Sino-Russian relationship carried by shared concerns, not common foe

By Li Jieyu Source:Global Times Published: 2013-4-2 20:28:01

After taking office, Chinese President Xi Jinping chose Russia for his first stop abroad, met with his counterpart Vladimir Putin and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and signed a series of treaties. This demonstrates the close strategic relations the two countries enjoy.

To achieve the "Chinese dream," continuous development is needed, which imposes high requirements for stable resources provision, especially petroleum and natural gas provision. However, the present world is far from peaceful. Iraq, an important petroleum production nation, is caught in internal unrest, and Iran hasn't resolved the bottleneck of nuclear crisis. The South China Sea disputes still lie between China and relevant claimants, hindering joint efforts in exploiting the resources therein.

Under these conditions, Russia is a practical choice as China's resource supplier.

As fellow members of BRICS, China and Russia share common goals of development. The West hasn't recovered from financial depression, so Sino-Russian economic cooperation won't only aid both countries, but also galvanize global economy recovery.

The trade structures of the two countries are complementary. Russia has for a long time tried to change and upgrade its industrial structure and reverse the dangerous dominance on oil and natural gas. China is a vast market that attracts wide attention and foreign investment. On this point, cooperation between China and Russia is mutually beneficial. 

From a political and security perspective, China and Russia have cooperative opportunities. On the Iranian nuclear crisis, the two countries have a similar, if not the same, stance.

Resolving the crisis in a diplomatic way and ensuring a peaceful Middle East serves China's national interests. That's the same with Russia. Therefore, the two have spared no efforts in appealing to the UN to be careful about sanctions imposed on Iran.

With the US withdrawal from Afghanistan drawing closer, some prospective problems should be considered in advance, including whether there will be a revival of terrorism in Pakistan, or the border between Pakistan and India. For China and Russia, these are issues vital to their interests.

Another issue concerning cross-border security is the North Korean nuclear issue, on which China and Russia, as the neighboring countries, have the common goal of resuming the Six-Party Talks and urging North Korea to return to the negotiation table early.

The two countries are the founding members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which aims to fight against terrorism, national separatism, and religious extremism. To effectively root out terrorism, bilateral military exchanges of intelligence, human resources, and equipment have become imperative. 

Then there is public diplomacy. This year is Russia's "Tourism Year of China," offering China a chance to present a good image to Russia and the world and make its case against the rhetoric targeting China.

Along the way, China will integrate into international society, thereby creating a beneficial atmosphere to resolve some knotty problems, such as the South China Sea and East China Sea disputes.

The Sino-Russian relationship is a natural form of cooperation based on equality, mutual trust and traditional friendship.

The relationship cannot be equated with an alliance, and is not aimed at any other country. Time will show these ties are a natural part of history.

The author is a research fellow in international relations at Hainan Provincial Party School.

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