Published: 12:53, May 24, 2024
Partnership for a better world
By Martin Sieff

China-Russia ties benefit the two nations while also advancing the cause of global stability

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to China, which concluded on May 17, was filled with important symbolism and messages, with the two sides releasing a joint statement saying they would further strengthen their comprehensive strategic partnership in the new era and advocate for democratization of international relations.

The statement, made amid the 75th anniversary of the establishment of Beijing-Moscow diplomatic ties, encompassed areas ranging from bilateral trade and energy to global hot-button issues. Also, it expressed grave concerns on the containment policy pursued by the United States and its allies.

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It was the first foreign state visit Putin made since being re-elected for another term as president of Russia. The first such visit by the leader of a major power to another country after he or she is elected or re-elected is taken to indicate the exceptionally close relationship and high regard the leaders of the two countries have for each other.

That is certainly the case between Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping who have already held more than 40 extended sets of discussions and summits with each other over the past decade or so.

To fulfill their narrow geopolitical goals, which include weakening Russia, curbing China’s development and driving a wedge between Russia and China, the US and NATO continue to fuel the Ukraine crisis and form blocs in the Asia-Pacific.

Beijing, on its part, seeks to avoid any such conflict but does not compromise on its core interests. And Moscow has been reiterating its stance on upholding the one-China principle and opposing Taiwan island pro-independence activities.

That is why Russia and China have enjoyed warm and steadily improving relations for more than a quarter of a century. And over the past decade, Putin and Xi have been consistent and constructive in building upon the aspirations of their peoples.

Amid the close Sino-Russian relations, whose strong foundation goes beyond the friendship of the leaders, China has been questioned by the West for “failing to stop” Russia from “continuing” the Ukraine crisis. The fact, however, is that China, as a responsible major country, is committed to maintaining regional peace and stability.

Accordingly, it has been reiterating that despite not being a party to the Ukraine crisis, it is engaged in shuttle diplomacy and is making serious efforts to promote peace talks between Moscow and Kyiv. In the joint statement on May 16, China and Russia both once again emphasized that nuclear-armed nations should avoid direct military confrontations.

It is time for the US-led NATO to reflect on the Ukraine crisis. It is NATO — which is currently a triumphalist, expansionist and ideologically driven military organization and not the cautious, defensive and reactive alliance of the Cold War era — that has been fueling the Ukraine crisis.

On April 23, the US Congress passed a $95 billion aid package to double down Washington’s supply of arms and military equipment to Ukraine, Israel, and China’s Taiwan island. The US aid package for Israel comes at a time when Tel Aviv has been ignoring the international community’s call for stopping the brutal assault on Gaza, which has already claimed more than 35,000 lives.

Also, by continuing to supply arms to Taiwan region, the US has been violating the three joint Sino-US communiques, which form the cornerstone of Sino-US relations. As principled US critics have pointed out, the aim of the aid package is not to safeguard people against any kind of aggression, but to further bolster irresponsible, overwhelmingly discredited regimes that are pushing their peoples toward disaster by their warmongering foreign policies and increasingly hysterical suppression of all calls for peace and moderation at home.

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The leaders of Russia and China have decades of experience in building a constructive partnership between their two great nations. And since 2001, this has found structured expression through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which has proven to be peaceful, while NATO has shown itself to be aggressive, unpredictable and destructive toward non-US allies.

The result: India and Iran have joined the SCO, and almost all the other major countries in East Asia and the Middle East have either established or are seeking to establish deeper and more constructive ties with it.

The lesson is clear: Russia and China both seek to develop their economies while raising the standard of living of their peoples. And Putin’s latest visit to China is another confirmation that China’s ties with Russia will benefit both peoples and economies, and promote global peace and development.

The author is a senior fellow at the American University in Moscow. 

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.