Join hands for future success of Russia-China partnership, says Putin
  ·  2024-05-15  ·   Source: Xinhua News Agency

Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a solemn welcome ceremony for Chinese President Xi Jinping at the St. George's Hall at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on March 21, 2023 (XINHUA)

On the eve of his two-day state visit to China, which starts on May 16, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated in a written interview with Xinhua that Russia and China are promoting the prosperity of both nations through expanded equal and mutually beneficial cooperation in economic and cultural fields.

In the interview, Putin emphasized that the coordination of foreign policies between the two countries is propelling the establishment of a fair multipolar world order, which underpins the future success of the Russia-China comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for the new era.

Putin highlighted that contemporary Russia-China relations transcend ideology and are a strategic choice made independently by the two countries regardless of the political situation. This choice is grounded in the extensive common interests, deep mutual trust, strong public support, and the genuine friendship between the peoples of the two countries. Both nations are jointly committed to safeguarding sovereignty, territorial integrity, and security.

"In a broader sense, we are working to contribute to the development and prosperity of Russia and China by enhancing equal, mutually beneficial economic and humanitarian cooperation, and strengthen foreign policy coordination in the interests of building a just multipolar world order. All this is the key to a future success of our comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for the new era," said Putin.

He noted that the partnership between Russia and China is always based on equality and mutual trust, mutual respect for sovereignty, and consideration of each other's interests. President Xi Jinping, a wise and visionary leader, plays a special and prominent role in the development of bilateral relations, he added.

"We first met back in March 2010, and we have been seeing and calling each other regularly ever since. President Xi maintains a respectful, friendly, open and at the same time business-like style of communication," Putin said, adding that each meeting was not only a dialogue between old friends but also a fruitful exchange of views on bilateral and international agendas.

Putin recalled that in 2013, President Xi chose Russia as the first destination of his state visit as China's head of state. After being re-elected as Chinese president in March last year, his first state visit was again to Russia. They spent nearly five hours together, holding one-on-one in-depth talks, followed by a day of substantive official events.

"This unprecedented level of strategic partnership between our countries determined my choice of China as the first state to be visited after the official inauguration as the president of the Russian Federation," Putin emphasized.

He pointed out that the deep and longstanding friendship and cooperation between the peoples of Russia and China has established one of the most important pillars of bilateral relations. Today, relations between Russia and China have reached their highest level in history, and despite a challenging international situation, the relationship continues to develop, he added.

Putin underscored that this year is special for both countries, noting that October marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, which is celebrating this significant historical moment with outstanding achievements.

As a long-standing and reliable friend, Russia welcomes China's accomplishments, he said, adding that for three-quarters of a century, the two countries have navigated a long and sometimes difficult path, drawing lessons from different stages of their relations.

Today, they recognize that complementary advantages are injecting strong momentum into the comprehensive and rapid development of bilateral ties, he said.

Referring to the practical cooperation in trade and economic fields, Putin noted that the rapid development of Russia-China trade relations has been demonstrating strong immunity to external challenges and crises.

In the past five years, trade between the two countries has doubled, he noted, saying that China has been Russia's largest trading partner for 13 consecutive years, and in 2023, Russia ranked the fourth among China's trading partners. More than 90 percent of transactions between the companies from the two countries are settled in their national currencies, Putin added.

Putin noted the two sides are systematically and consistently developing strategic cooperation in the energy sector, working on new large-scale energy projects.

Supplies of Russian agricultural produce to the Chinese market are showing positive dynamics, initiatives in investment and production are being implemented, and transportation and logistics corridors between the two countries are operating smoothly and growing, he said.

"I believe that Russian-Chinese economic ties have great prospects," Putin said.

"We will try to establish closer cooperation in industry and high-tech, outer space and peaceful atom, artificial intelligence, renewable energy and other innovative sectors. We will keep working to provide favourable legal and organizational conditions for that and develop transport and financial infrastructure," he said.

The years 2024 and 2025 are designated as the Years of Culture between Russia and China.

Putin said he believes Russia and China have been inextricably linked for centuries, both by an extensive common border and by close cultural and people-to-people ties.

Today, he said, there is high interest in Chinese culture and arts within Russian society.

Putin noted that approximately 90,000 Russian students at various educational levels are learning Chinese, and tours and exhibitions involving Chinese artists have been highly successful. The number of tourists between the two continues to surge, with over 730,000 Russian citizens visiting China last year, he added.

"I know that people in China are also keen to get acquainted with Russian literature, art and traditions. Our eminent theatre groups and musicians regularly perform in China, museums organize their exhibitions, and Russian films are run in cinemas. We are most willing to introduce our Chinese friends to historical, artistic and cultural heritage of multi-ethnic Russia in all its diversity," Putin said.

The Russian president also shared his personal appreciation for Chinese culture. "I am always eager to discover China's unique and authentic traditions, especially during my visits to China. I know quite a bit about your martial arts, including Wushu, which is very popular in our country. I also have respect for Chinese philosophy. My family members are also interested in China, and some of them are learning Chinese."

Putin highly values the collaboration between Russia and China on the international stage.

He noted that the two countries hold similar or identical positions on key issues in the international agenda. Both advocate for the primacy role of international law, and support equal, indivisible, comprehensive and sustainable security at both the global and regional level with the UN's central coordinating role, he said, adding Russia and China also reject Western attempts to impose an order based on lies and hypocrisy, on some mythical rules of no one knows whose making.

Currently, multilateral mechanisms such as the BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) are uniting countries of the "Global South" in a spirit of equality, openness, transparency and inclusiveness, pushing for reforms in the global governance system.

Putin noted that with active participation from Russia and China, multilateral organizations and mechanisms that are independent of the West are successfully operating, saying that in their work they build on the principles of equality, justice, transparency, respect and consideration of each other's interests.

"The Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS, which have well established themselves as key pillars of the emerging multipolar world order, can be cited as vivid examples of such mutually beneficial cooperation. They have come to be reputable and dynamic international platforms whose participants build constructive political, security, economic and cultural and people-to-people interaction. Hence the ever increasing interest of other states in the work of these associations and the growing number of their participants," Putin said.

With the expansion as a new starting point, the BRICS cooperation mechanism has entered a new era of "greater BRICS cooperation." Russia is the rotating chair of the BRICS this year.

Putin stated that Russia's BRICS Chairmanship has gained a steady momentum, saying that full-scale work is underway on all three main pillars of cooperation--politics and security, the economy and finance, and people-to-people exchanges, with more than 200 events planned during its chairmanship.

"One of the main goals of the Russian Chairmanship is undoubtedly the seamless integration of the BRICS new members. We are actively assisting them in joining the existing network of cooperation mechanisms," he said.

Another priority is to seek to continue coordinated work to enhance the visibility of BRICS in global affairs and build its capacity to promote a more democratic, stable and fair architecture of international relations, he added.

"Cooperation within BRICS relies on the principles of mutual respect, equality, openness and consensus. That is why countries of the Global South and East, which see BRICS as a platform for their voices to be certainly heard and taken into account, find our association so attractive," Putin said.

Regarding China's efforts towards the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis, Putin expressed positive views on China's position.

He said that China clearly understands the roots of the Ukraine crisis and its global geopolitical impact, as reflected in the "China's Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis," a 12-point proposition issued by China in February 2023. The concepts and suggestions indicated in the document demonstrate the sincere desire of China to stabilize the situation, he added.

Putin emphasized that the four principles for the peaceful resolution of the Ukraine crisis recently proposed by Xi seamlessly fit in the above-mentioned document.

"The steps build on the idea that we need to forego the 'Cold War mentality' and ensure indivisible security and respect for international law and the UN Charter in their entirety and interrelation," he said.

"We have never refused to negotiate," Putin said. "We are seeking a comprehensive, sustainable and just settlement of this conflict through peaceful means. We are open to a dialogue on Ukraine, but such negotiations must take into account the interests of all countries involved in the conflict, including ours."

Putin also outlined the goals and plans for national development during his new term.

He mentioned that the tasks proposed in the annual address to the Federal Assembly on Feb. 29, such as promoting regional development, boosting economic and social development, increasing the birth rate, supporting families with children, and eradicating poverty and inequality, are of great practical significance.

"We recognize the scale of these challenges and can provide solutions. To do this we will rely on the consolidated will of our people, the necessary resources and capabilities, and the rich experience of interaction between the state, businesses and the civil society," he said.

Putin pointed out that, calculated based on purchasing power parity, Russia has now been among the top five economies globally.

"We are aiming for the top four largest economies on the planet. We prioritize such tasks as ensuring quality and the effective development across all spheres, as well as increasing our citizens' well-being," he said.

"I am confident that we will implement all the strategic plans we have set. We are willing to work together with our partners worldwide, including China, our good neighbour and trusted friend," Putin said.

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