Western pressure brings China and Russia closer as Chinese officials visit Moscow

By Liu Xin Source:Global Times Published: 2018/4/2 20:23:39

Two Chinese State Councilors visit Russia

Trade tensions between China and the US and the expulsion of Russian diplomats by Western countries may drive China and Russia to form closer ties, analysts said as China's foreign minister and defense minister visit Moscow this week.

"Special Envoy of the President of the People's Republic of China, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will be visiting Russia on Wednesday and Thursday," the Russian Foreign Ministry announced on Saturday.

"China and Russia are developing closer ties not only due to their previous good cooperation but also because of changes in the international environment. Western countries are putting political pressure on Russia and the US is provoking China into a trade war," Gao Fei, a professor of Russian studies at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times.

The US announced on March 26 its decision to expel 60 Russian diplomats, joining governments across Europe in punishing the Kremlin for a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in Britain, Reuters reported.

"As China's Minister of National Defense will also be in Russia during Wang's visit, leaders may hold talks on enhancing the countries' overall comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation between China and Russia," Gao said.

China's defense ministry said that Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe was scheduled to visit Russia and Belarus from April 1 to 8 and attend the 7th Moscow Conference on International Security.

Wang's visit to Russia was initially scheduled from March 27 to 28, but was postponed to allow the Russian administration to deal with the tragic fire in Kemerovo.

Wang is scheduled to meet with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Thursday, and share their views on "prospects of further developing Russian-Chinese relations of comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation, as well as extending mutual coordination in international and regional affairs," TASS Russian News Agency reported.

Gao said that China and Russia also need to work together to deal with more complicated international situations. "Future cooperation may focus more on fixing the vulnerable cooperation fields, especially trade and business exchanges, which do not match the closer political exchanges," Gao said.

Sun Zhuangzhi, an expert on Sino-Russian relations from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that Wang's visit is also paving the way for meetings between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

According to TASS, Putin is planning a visit to China in conjunction with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Qingdao in June.

"China and Russia also need to work together to maintain regional stability. Increasing military exchanges would deepen mutual trust and deter forces that may threaten domestic and regional peace," Sun said.

No alliance

Despite closer Sino-Russian ties, the two countries will not form an alliance, experts said.

"The premise for forming an alliance is a shared enemy and China does not consider any country an enemy," Gao said.

China and Russia have taken different measures in dealing with international issues that target them, said Sun. "China will take countermeasures in response to US tariffs on Chinese exports, while Russia has shown restraint in order to preserve its close economic ties with some Western countries."

There will be no return to the Cold War, and both China and Russia need to work to resolve disputes in problematic fields, Sun said.

Newspaper headline: West pressure brings China, Russia closer

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