China reaffirms support for core interests amid Russian PM’s visit
Published: May 24, 2023 10:32 PM Updated: May 24, 2023 10:18 PM
China Russia Photo: VCG

China Russia Photo: VCG

Chinese President Xi Jinping said China is willing to promote mutual support with Russia in the fields that involved their respective core interests and enhance coordination on multilateral arenas during a meeting with visiting Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin in Beijing on Wednesday. Experts said the stable development of China-Russia relations is crucial for world peace and the process of multilateralism to withstand the threat of hegemony and unilateralism.

Chinese Premier Li Qiang also met Mishustin on Wednesday and held a welcome ceremony for the Russian prime minister.

This major diplomatic activity between the two major powers showed that the two sides are paying efforts to rebuild mechanism of routine face-to-face dialogue between the heads of governments of the two sides after the three-year-long COVID-19 pandemic, and to further strengthen and implement consensus reached by the top leaders of the two countries in March, analysts said.

Xi asked Mishustin to convey his sincere greetings to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Xi said that during his successful state visit to Russia in March, he and Putin drew a blueprint for the future development of China-Russia relations and cooperation in various fields.

Xi said that it is the aspiration of the people and the trend of the times to consolidate and develop China-Russia relations.

China and Russia should continue to firmly support each other on issues concerning their respective core interests, and strengthen coordination on multilateral arenas such as the UN, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, BRICS and the G20, Xi stressed.

Mishustin said during the meeting with Xi that Russia is willing to work with China to promote the process of multi-polarization for the world and consolidate the international order based on international law. Russia looks forward to further strengthening people-to-people and cultural exchanges with China so that the friendship between Russia and China will be passed on from generation to generation.

China and Russia also signed a series of bilateral agreements on service trade cooperation, sports, patents, and Russian millet exports to China, according to media reports. 

Cui Heng, an assistant research fellow from the Center for Russian Studies of East China Normal University, told the Global Times on Wednesday that President Xi and President Vladimir Putin signed two joint statements in March during Xi's state visit to Russia, and these statements cover a series of cooperation, so this requires the two governments to conduct dialogue and coordination to implement the consensus after the two top leaders pointed out the direction of the development of bilateral ties.

"This is the main task for the Russian prime minister's visit to China this time," Cui noted. Mishustin also attended a high-level China-Russia business forum in Shanghai on Tuesday, and this shows that he wants to promote pragmatic cooperation amid the international turbulence and instability of the world economy, Cui said.

Chinese analysts said the China-Russia cooperation has nothing to do with the Ukraine crisis, and it's crucial to avoid and deter more conflicts and tensions from happening when the US is being increasingly hostile to China and Russia, and Washington also keeps forcing its neighbors to forge bloc-confrontation worldwide.

On one hand, China is upholding a neutral and fair stance to help relevant parties to find a way for a political solution of the Ukraine crisis with increasingly active diplomatic efforts; on the other hand, China and Russia are developing bilateral ties based on legitimate and reasonable demands and interests of the two peoples, said Chinese experts. Western media and politicians are in no position to accuse the normal development of China-Russia ties as the Western governments, especially Washington, are hindering efforts to end the conflict. 

Further cooperation

The two sides should further tap the potential to raise the levels of economic, trade and investment cooperation, improve bilateral cooperation institutions and mechanisms, consolidate and expand energy and connectivity cooperation, and create more new growth points, Xi said during the meeting with Mishustin, noting the people-to-people and cultural exchanges should be expanded.

When attending the China-Russia business forum in Shanghai on Tuesday, Mishustin expected that bilateral trade between China and Russia could hit the $200 billion goal this year and cooperation will expand beyond traditional areas.   

Zhang Hong, an associate research fellow at the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that under the sanctions and isolation by the West after the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis, Russia is getting more and more motivated to expand trade with China, and this is the first visit of Mishustin since he was appointed to be the Russian prime minister, so this diplomatic activity is significant for the China-Russia cooperation in the next stage. 

Xi said at the meeting with the Russian prime minister that China is willing to work with Russia and Eurasian Economic Union members to synergize the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union to facilitate the formation of a more open, large regional market, ensure the stability and smoothness of global industrial and supply chains, and bring tangible benefits to countries in the region.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the proposal of Belt and Road Initiative, and Russia, as the biggest country alongside the routes of the BRI, is a key player for the further development of the Belt and Road, so the two countries will also seek deeper cooperation and coordination to better connect the BRI and the Eurasian Economic Union, analysts said. 

The US has tried to instigate the China-Russia relations by saying China's increasing presence in Central Asia will affect Russia's influence and interest, but Chinese experts said that Washington's attempt is useless and pointless, as Beijing and Moscow share common views and goals for development and security, and they both understand the real purpose of Washington, so there is no hope for the US to instigate and interrupt the high-level mutual trust between China and Russia.