Russian-Chinese relations have faced special challenges in the last year due to the rise of the new corona virus and its politicization in the sphere of international relations, as well as Trump’s disruption of the world order. However, people are happy to see that Russian-Chinese relations have withstood severe tests and gained new achievements. The two countries have been on a trajectory of mutual political trust, economic complementarity, cultural interactions, military interaction and foreign business since the establishment of the strategic partnership. 2020 will see a new look.
Political mutual trust is fundamental. In the words of the leaders of the two countries, China and Russia support and help each other in the most difficult moments in the new corona epidemic, adding strategic connotations to China-Russia relations in the new era. There is no forbidden zone or upper limit to expand cooperation between the two countries.
Economic complementarity is the foundation. Although the new corona epidemic has caused a certain impact on the global industrial chain and supply chain, Sino-Russian trade still shows high resilience. According to preliminary statistics, from January to September 2020, China-Russia trade volume was US$78.84 billion, of which China’s exports to Russia were US$35.887 billion, a year-on-year increase of 0.1%; imports from Russia were US$42.956 billion, a year-on-year decrease of 3.8%. However, with the gradual recovery of personnel and goods exchanges, the trade volume between the two countries is still picking up rapidly. The trade volume of agricultural and industrial products between Russia and China in the first nine months increased by 9% over the same period of the previous year, reaching 3.8 billion US dollars. In the first half of the year, China’s exports of medical equipment, textile raw materials, electronic appliances, etc. to Russia achieved double-digit growth. Imports of energy, minerals and agricultural products from Russia continued to increase, and Russia’s first batch of beef was exported to China. The first logistics center jointly constructed by the two countries-Berrelast Logistics Center was officially put into operation at the end of July last year. In particular, the two sides are implementing some large-scale cooperation projects in energy and other economic fields. Russia is also cooperating with China and the Chinese company Huawei on 5G technology.
Cultural interoperability is a bond. Currently, there are 48,000 Chinese students studying in Russia and more than 20,000 Russian students studying in China. Another 35,000 citizens of the two countries participated in various short-term education programs. Cultural and artistic exchanges are splendid. Russia’s traditional national “Art Night” event has been held for 8 sessions, and all events in 2020 were presented online in early November last year. Russian citizens can also learn about Chinese culture online from various regional exhibitions and events.
Military interaction is a guarantee. The two sides regularly hold joint naval and ground military exercises to continuously exchange the best experience in the field of military construction. President Putin emphatically pointed out that China and Russia have reached a high level of cooperation in the field of military technology cooperation, and the most important thing is not just exchanging products or buying and selling military products, but exchanging technology. Another important measure of military cooperation is the signing of the “Protocol on Extending the Validity Period of the Agreement between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the Russian Federation on the Mutual Notification of the Launch of Ballistic Missiles and Space Launch Vehicles” on October 13, 2009. year. This reflects the high level of particularity in the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries in the new era, and demonstrates the determination of the two countries to jointly maintain global strategic stability.
Foreign trade, this is the channel. Despite the interference of the new corona epidemic and the complex international environment, the all-round bilateral cooperation and coordination in international affairs between the two countries are still getting closer. The coordination between China and Russia in multilateral fields such as the United Nations, the SCO, the BRICS and the G20 has formed joint forces and has achieved remarkable results.
Of particular concern is that this year the two countries worked together to deal with the new corona epidemic, and Russia resolutely resisted the US Trump administration’s drive to create a wedge in Sino-Russian relations and set up an adhoc “anti-China alliance”.
In order to overcome the impact of the new corona epidemic, the two sides regularly exchange experiences and continue to actively promote related cooperation by using new forms of remote communication. Russia opposes Trump’s rejection of China on the virus issue. President Putin has made it clear that “there is no evidence to support this claim”. Russian media have also published articles, praising and supporting China’s epidemic prevention and control efforts based on the comparison of the epidemic situation between China and the United States and European countries. They believe that China’s more successful response to the new corona virus is due to the credibility of the Chinese government and the sense of responsibility of its citizens.
Russia responded to the anti-China actions of the US government with a series of words and deeds. In response to Trump’s intention to join Russia to involve China in the “New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty” negotiations, Putin said that if we want to talk about security and want China to join the treaty, we should not forget that Britain and France also possess nuclear weapons. In response to the intention of the United States to withdraw from the “Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty,” the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs pointed out that if the United States deploys nuclear or conventional missiles in the Asia-Pacific region, Russia will respond quickly. In response to Pompeo’s clamor for putting together an “anti-China alliance”, the Russian spokesperson has repeatedly stated that the creation of the “anti-China alliance” is an attempt to divorce Russia-China relations. China is Russia’s partner and is a country that develops special partnerships with each other.
The China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation has been further strengthened under the new situation because it is rooted in the consensus of peaceful development, cooperation and win-win, based on the practice of the “Shanghai Spirit” of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diverse civilizations, and common development. . There is still a lot of room for cooperation in Sino-Russian relations, which is good news for both China and Russia and their people.
(The author is an academician of the International Academy of Natural and Social Sciences)