Xi to pay state visit to Russia

By Liu Xin Source:Global Times Published: 2019/5/30 21:08:40

Taking bilateral relations to higher level to meet challenges

China's Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Zhang Jun (3L) and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov (2R) hold a new round of China-Russia consultation on strategic stability in Moscow, Russia, on May 17, 2019. (Photo: Xinhua, provided by Chinese Embassy in Moscow, Russia)

China and Russia are expected to sign joint communiqués that will propel bilateral ties to a higher level amid new global geopolitical changes and challenges, a move that Chinese experts said was necessary as the two sides face rising unilateralism and hegemonism.

President Xi Jinping will pay a state visit to Russia from June 5 to 7 at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin. During the visit the two countries are expected to sign two important political joint communiqués, China's Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Hanhui said at a press conference on Thursday.  

One of the communiqués aims to enhance the quality and level of bilateral ties and the other would show the two countries' shared resolutions on dealing with challenges in the strategic security fields, according to Zhang.

Yang Jin, an associate research fellow at the department of Russia-Eastern Europe-Central Asia studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, said that the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination was "rare among big countries and the two sides keep pushing bilateral ties to a higher level in history especially when they are facing a similar new geopolitical strategy." 

The US keeps imposing and escalating sanctions on Russia, Yang told the Global Times on Thursday, while China and the US are at a stalemate in the US-initiated trade war. 

"Unilateralism and hegemonism are also rising globally, which makes it necessary and important to take China-Russia ties to a new level," Yang said.   

In response to reports that easing tensions between Russia and the US may affect China-Russia ties, Yang said that China and Russia have rocksolid mutual trust and discord could not easily be sown in close ties. "We have faith in our partner," Yang said.  

Vice Foreign Minister Zhang said, "China and Russia respect each other's core interests and major concerns and firmly support each other. Bilateral ties have never been aimed at a third party and will not be interfered with or affected by a third party."

Cui Heng, an expert at East China Normal University, told the Global Times on Thursday that updating bilateral ties fits the two countries' interests. 

He said that Russia has paid more attention to ties with East Asian countries, especially after its clashes with Ukraine in November, which would also bring it closer to China. 

Firm and stable ties with Russia would be the bedrock of China's diplomatic strategies, Cui said. 

Zhang said the two leaders would share opinions on international issues, which would strengthen their common stand on issues concerning regional security and make a joint contribution to world peace.

Economic cooperation 

China and Russia are also expected to sign dozens of cooperation agreements on trade and investment, including energy and petroleum, Zhang noted at the Thursday press conference. 

"China and Russia have better cooperation on nuclear energy, petroleum and gas… and the cooperation has been expanded. We are natural trade partners - one has the resources and the other has the market, and we are neighbors," Zhang said.

China-Russia trade exceeded $100 billion by mid-December, a record high, according to January data from the Ministry of Commerce.

Zhang called the US-initiated trade war "economic terrorism and economic hegemonism" and said China and Russia shared a common interest on the issue. 

"China and Russia will further engage in trade and economic cooperation, deal with outside challenges and protect each other's security and development," Zhang said. 

Xi will also attend the 23rd St. Petersburg International Economic Forum during his stay in Russia, according to China's Foreign Ministry. 

Yang said that the Chinese leader may once again emphasize China's opening-up and peaceful development policies. 

"China has been and will always be an important part of the global trade and economy. The Chinese people have benefited from globalization and would like to share our achievements by opening-up to the whole world," he said.

Personal ties

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic ties between China and Russia. President Xi is scheduled to attend a series of activities on commemorating the event, Zhang said. Xi will attend the opening ceremony for a panda hall at Moscow Zoo.

Zhang also noted Thursday that since 2013, Xi and Putin have met 28 times and established a close working relationship and personal friendship. Their meetings in Russia this time are expected to create more consensus and further their personal relationship. 

According to Zhang, President Xi will receive an honorary doctorate from the Saint Petersburg State University.

President Putin was awarded an honorary doctorate in Tsinghua University in April when he arrived to attend the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, according to the Xinhua News Agency.


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