Mutual trust between China and Russia is a valuable asset for global stability
Published: Mar 24, 2022 07:23 PM
China Russia Photo: VCG

China Russia Photo: VCG

The US-led West has not stopped its ill-intentioned attempt to coerce China on the Ukraine issue since the outbreak of the conflict. From threatening sanctions on China and hyping the idea that "China had prior knowledge" of Russia's action at the beginning of the clash to falsely claiming "China colluding with Russia," "China willing to give military supports to Russia" and "China weakens West's sanctions on Russia" in March, these groundless accusations all highlight Washington's unbridled arrogance and hegemony.

In the current international situation, no matter how China handles its relationship with Russia, Western countries will not be satisfied and will think that China is secretly helping Russia. Even if China, Russia's largest trading partner, maintains normal economic and trade relations with Russia, it will be considered to be contradicting the Western sanctions against Russia.

For instance, China recently announced to accept the import of wheat from the whole territory of Russia, and Russia announced the China-Mongolia-Russia natural gas corridor plan. These cooperation plans have been discussed by China and Russia for a long time, just because they are announced close to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, some in Western countries assumed that China is actively bailing Russia out. Yet, China's humanitarian assistance to Ukraine has been neglect by the West. 

In fact, the West's suppression of China is not due to China's attitude toward Russia, but because of the rapid development of China's national strength. Although China has repeatedly emphasized that it has no intention of challenging the US, as long as China has the strength to challenge it, or even only getting close to the US, it is viewed as a huge threat already.

In the US' logic, after China has the strength, it can have the willingness to challenge the US anytime it wants. Therefore, whether China is a rivalry against the US or not, it's up to the US to decide. And this is what the West calls a structural contradiction between the two largest economies in the world.

In dealing with international affairs, China always makes its own judges according to the actual situation, justice and its own national interests. These factors are equally important in making proper foreign policies. Even as justice in international affairs has been arbitrarily twisted by a US-led circle, in the end, a country that arbitrarily smears and kidnaps international justice will eventually be despised by the international community.

The China-Russia strategic partnership is based on a similar basic understanding of the world today and the national interests of both countries. However, the China-Russian relationship is not an alliance after all, and the two countries' perceptions of international affairs and their national interests cannot completely overlap.

Since the Russia-Ukraine conflict, China has made it clear that it respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, including Ukraine. China and Russia have different positions and views on certain regional and international issues. But this does not hinder the overall situation of China-Russia strategic cooperation.

Although China and Russia's strategic cooperation is a bilateral relationship, it has global significance and is directly related to the stability of the region and the world. This is also the international responsibility that China and Russia should shoulder as the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

It's hard to imagine what would the world be like without the strategic cooperation between China and Russia? As China's Ambassador to the US, Qin Gang, recently noted China's trusted relations with Russia is not a liability. It's an asset in the international efforts to solve the crisis in a peaceful way. In other words, maintaining the stability of China-Russian relations is a key element of global harmony.

The core essence of the China-Russia strategic partnership of coordination is non-alignment, non-confrontation, and non-targeting of third parties. This is a new security concept that is completely different from the Cold War mentality that Western countries adhere to. Neither China nor Russia has the will to move toward an alliance and choose to confront the West.

In the face of the turbulent international situation surrounding the Ukraine crisis, China and Russia do not need and have no intention of forming an alliance, and China has no obligation or desire to cut China-Russia strategic cooperation. Bilateral ties only need to maintain the level and rhythm of the original strategic cooperation. It will be the greatest contribution to world stability and development.

The author is the deputy dean of the Russian Institute of Tsinghua University.