Xi’s visit to Russia will further promote bilateral relations

By Cui Heng Source:Global Times Published: 2019/6/5 18:13:43

File photo: Xinhua

During his visit to Beijing in late April, Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and received an honorary doctorate from Tsinghua University. Chinese President Xi Jinping kicked off a state visit to Russia on Wednesday. The frequent exchanges between the two heads of state have helped maintain the best China-Russia relations ever seen. Both nations support each other on issues involving respective core and major concerns and have benefited from the promotion of mutual development.

The year 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Russia. The two sides have reached a critical period to consolidate previous achievements and move to further enhance bilateral ties. The high-level, highly-frequent and high-quality head-of-state diplomacy between China and Russia is unique when it comes to diplomacy between major powers. It not only demonstrates the great importance that both sides attach to bilateral relations, but also plays an irreplaceable strategic leading role in the cooperation between the two countries in various fields.  

Looking back at the development of China-Russia relations this century, we can see that meetings between the two heads of state have played a critical role in every significant improvement in bilateral ties and the implementation of every key project. As such, Xi's attendance at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum is sure to further inject new impetus for the development of China-Russia relations.

International public opinion once assumed that amid the China-US trade war, China and Russia will become alienated from each other. In fact, during his visit to Sochi to meet with Putin last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did intend to drive a wedge between China and Russia. However, China-Russia relations have shown unprecedented stability, despite the unclear current international configuration and complex interaction between major powers. 

This is because China-Russia relations are not about forming an alliance against third parties, but rather about promoting long-term social and economic modernization while respecting each other's different development paths.

Confronted with rising unilateralism and protectionism, and challenges to the international system and international order, the strategic significance of China-Russia cooperation becomes even more important. 

The two sides should further strengthen strategic cooperation in international affairs, distinctively advocate multilateralism and an open global economy, and play a bigger role in promoting world peace, stability, fairness and justice.

In 2018, bilateral trade between China and Russia reached $100 billion, which not only indicates that improving bilateral relations have substantially promoted economic cooperation, but also shows that China and Russia's pragmatic cooperation has entered a new stage.

At the beginning of this year, China and Russia encountered some problems in bilateral ties. However, this did not negatively impact bilateral relations. Instead it urged the two sides to consolidate previous achievements and figure out new cooperative approaches for the next stage. There are various reasons accounting for why the two countries so quickly overcame the bottleneck, including the commitment of political leaders on both sides; the solid foundation built on achievements in comprehensive and pragmatic cooperation over the years; untapped ideological, spiritual, material and institutional potential; and continuous external pressure, such as pressure imposed by the US on both China and Russia.

Amid this context, the primary task now is to explore new facets of China and Russia's strategic partnership and to cope with major strategic challenges. In addition to the mutual strategic support which has been promoting China-Russia ties this century, the convergence of political values, security factors and mutual development will become the driving force for the further improvement of relations between the two countries. 

Related issues include ensuring sustainable economic development, improving living standards and the promotion of urbanization.

From the perspective of development, we can see that there are still many potential areas where China and Russia can work together to improve bilateral relations. 

Although bilateral relations are the best they have ever been, the bright prospects of China-Russia relations are sure to shine even brighter in the future for all the world to see. 

The author is a post-doctorate researcher from the Centre for Russian Studies, East China Normal University. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

Posted in: VIEWPOINT

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