The Hot Zone
China's newly announced air defense identification zone over the East China Sea aims to shore up national security
Current Issue
· Table of Contents
· Editor's Desk
· Previous Issues
· Subscribe to Mag
Subscribe Now >>
Expert's View
Market Watch
North American Report
Government Documents
Expat's Eye
Photo Gallery
Reader's Service
Learning with
'Beijing Review'
E-mail us
RSS Feeds
PDF Edition
Reader's Letters
Make Beijing Review your homepage
Hot Links

cheap eyeglasses
Market Avenue

Cover Stories
Special> World in Retrospect 2009> Cover Stories
UPDATED: December 30, 2009 Web Exclusive
Sino-Russian Relations: Achieving Practical Progress in 2009
Sheng Shiliang, a Sino-Russian relations expert from Xinhua News Agency, commented on the two countries' relations in 2009 and made predictions


FORGING FRIENDSHIP: Approximately 100 young people hailing from China and Russia take part in the First Snow Carving Tournament, held in the city of Heihei in north China's Helongjiang Province on December 26, 2009 (XINHUA) 

Reviewing the development of Sino-Russian relations in 2009, we think of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of China-Russia diplomatic ties in Beijing, the joint antiterror military exercise, and cultural exchange activities for the "Year of Russian Language" in China. But not all the memories are pleasant. Incidents like the shutdown of the Cherkizovsky Market in Moscow and the so-called "gray customs clearance" system, which hampers bilateral trade, have cast a shadow on bilateral relations. Our reporter recently interviewed Sheng Shiliang, a researcher of the Center for World Affairs of Xinhua News Agency, who commented on the two countries' relations in 2009 and made predictions.

Beijing Review: This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of China-Russia diplomatic ties as well as the "Year of Russian Language," for which the two countries held plenty of cultural exchange activities. You must have taken part in many of these activities. How do you view the importance of these government-supported activities in promoting bilateral relations?

Sheng Shiliang: I did participate in many of these activities. As a matter of fact, the number of these activities was smaller this year compared with the past, proving that relations between the two countries are no longer mainly sustained by large-scale cultural activities. Instead, there are more practical contents to the relationship. Russia has set up Russian centers in Chinese cities, such as Beijing, Chengdu and Macao, to promote the learning of Russian language and culture. China has also set up Confucius Institutes in Russia to promote Chinese language and culture. Meanwhile, negative reports on China by the Russian press have substantially decreased.

But we have to admit that the two peoples' perceptions of each other are still widely different. While ordinary Chinese have a positive impression of Russian people as they like Russian ballet, oil paintings and movies from the Soviet Union period, Russian public opinion of Chinese people is generally negative as their most familiar images are of Chinese profiteers. Some Russian people still have vivid memories of off-grade Chinese goods that flooded the Russian market in the early 1990s. In contrast, Russian people who have visited China in recent years generally speak highly of China's achievements through reform and opening up.

The two countries have tried to enhance people's communication by hosting the "Year of Russian Language," setting up cultural promotion centers, organizing summer camp exchange programs for children, and showing movies and TV operas from the other country.

In the border area, the two countries exchange tourism discount cards and China unilaterally allows Russian citizens to drive across the border for tours. People-to-people communication and cultural activities are improving the two peoples' perceptions of each other.

After U.S. President Obama visited China, experts around the world, including Russian scholars, hailed the dawning of a U.S.-China era. How do you perceive the triangle of Sino-U.S.-Russian relations in this new era?

I believe the best scenario would be that the three countries form an equilateral triangle, meaning that each two countries keep exactly the same distance. As the Cold War doctrines serving the confrontation of two camps become irrelevant, the improvement of Sino-U.S. relations does not necessarily lead to a threat to Russia. Similarly, the advancement of Russia-U.S. relations will not threaten China. The improvement of relations among these three countries benefits every side as well as the world's safety and stability.

Trilateral relations are now on their best terms. It is not likely that any two countries will form a coalition against the other country.

China and the United States have close trade relations, but their bilateral economic cooperation has always been open, without excluding the participation of another country. By comparison, China and Russia have given each other more strategic support and conducted more strategic coordination, without targeting a third country.

Since President Obama took office, he has taken a series of measures to boost relations with Russia. China welcomes this new trend as it can benefit from a peaceful international environment. International relations today are no longer a zero-sum game, but highlight coordination between different countries.

1   2   Next  

Top Story
-Protecting Ocean Rights
-Partners in Defense
-Fighting HIV+'s Stigma
-HIV: Privacy VS. Protection
-Setting the Tone
Most Popular
About BEIJINGREVIEW | About beijingreview.com | Rss Feeds | Contact us | Advertising | Subscribe & Service | Make Beijing Review your homepage
Copyright Beijing Review All right reserved