Experts look to future of China, Russia ties

By Cheng Guangjin

Ten years after China and Russia signed the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation, diplomats and scholars from both countries gathered on Monday in Beijing to seek ways to further promote bilateral cooperation in the next decade.

Addressing a forum on the 10th anniversary of the treaty, which was signed on July 16, 2001, Russian Ambassador to China Sergei Razov said it was "not at all out of date" and highlighted the special nature of Sino-Russian relations.

Political and strategic trust, pragmatic cooperation, people-to-people exchanges, and coordination on world and regional affairs are the four areas the two countries will prioritize to further enhance their cooperation, said Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping.

Scholars noted that, in addition to the two countries' strong political ties, growing economic cooperation will be another area that will bind the two countries even closer together as a new international order takes shape.

"It is the common need of both countries to ensure the new international order precisely reflects reality and achieves fair and effective global economic governance," said Feng Yujun, head of Russian studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

Feng said that energy was a key area in which the two countries could deepen their cooperation, especially in the oil, gas and nuclear industries.

Zheng Yu, a researcher at the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Russia's relations with the West had entered a stable period, enabling it to focus on economic development, in which China can play an important role.

"Security and economic cooperation have become the two major pillars of Sino-Russian cooperation," said Zheng.

Alexander Lukin, director of the Center for East Asian and Shanghai Cooperation Organization Studies at Moscow State Institute of International Relations, said the two large neighbors cannot afford to confront each other as neither side would benefit.

"The two countries' stances have never been this close on almost all international issues," said Razov.

Bilateral trade increased from about $8 billion in 2000 to nearly $60 billion in 2010, and China is now Russia's biggest trading partner.

The forum was organized by China Institute of International Studies and the Russian-Chinese Friendship Peace and Development Committee, and was attended by nearly 60 Chinese and Russian scholars and diplomats, including former ambassadors and officials who witnessed the signing of the treaty.
China Daily