Wu Yingqin: “Sino-Russian relations will withstand any test: real gold is not afraid of fire”
What did Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping agree on?
“Russia needs China, China needs Russia, and the world needs strong cooperation between China and Russia," said Wu Yingqin, Consul General of the People's Republic of China in Kazan, commenting on the results of the talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Given the difficult epidemiological situation in the context of COVID-19, the leaders of the two countries this time preferred to discuss the issues of bilateral relations by telephone conferencing. The Chinese Consul General in the next author's column written for Realnoe Vremya analyzes the conversation of the two leaders.
On the eve of the new 2021 year, President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping and President of Russia Vladimir Putin held a key telephone conversation. It has been the fifth call from two old friends in a year. Such frequent “telephone diplomacy” not only reflects the special situation in the world this year but also highlights the depth and peculiarity of the Sino-Russian relations.
What is happening in the world?
At the very beginning of the conversation, Chinese President Xi Jinping said: “The year 2020 has become an unusual year for China, Russia and the world. The coronavirus pandemic represents an unprecedented challenge to the security of human life, has dealt a severe blow to the global economy, and the world has entered an era of instability and change.”
In the extremely unusual 2020, many countries were struggling with unrest, and the world must look for a way out. As long as we are aware of this general trend, we can follow it and manage it.
How are things going in Sino-Russian relations?
Chinese President Xi Jinping used the well-known Chinese saying: “Real gold is not afraid of fire.” “In the hour of trials, the unique nature and special value of Sino-Russian relations became especially obvious. Both sides followed [the situation] and helped each other, overcame difficulties together and continued to firmly support each other on issues related to the main mutual interests, which indicates a high level of mutual trust and friendship between the two countries.”
Indeed, in 2020, China and Russia helped each other and overcame difficulties together.
- Russia became the first country to send a group of experts on epidemic prevention to China;
- Russia generously donated anti-epidemic materials to China;
- China is a country that provides Russia with the strongest anti-epidemic material support, and it also sent a group of specialists to Russia to help in the fight against the spread of coronavirus;
- Contrary to general trends, the volume of China-Russia trade increased in the first quarter of this year, and the growth rate of China's imports from Russia became the first among China's main trading partners;
- In the face of unfounded attacks and slander from individual countries, China and Russia support each other and oppose the “political virus”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed during the conversation that despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic this year, Russian-Chinese relations are developing steadily. At the same time, both sides support each other in the fight against the pandemic, and cooperation in such areas as economy and trade, power engineering, science and technology constantly moves forward.
The epidemic has not affected the development of Sino-Russian relations, and cooperation continues to develop.
Celebration of the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Sino-Russian Treaty on Good Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation
Chinese President Xi Jinping noted that the idea of ever-lasting friendship and the principle of the new type of international relations established in the Sino-Russian treaty on good-neighborliness and friendly cooperation represent a great innovation in the history of international relations, and their strong vitality and exemplary influence will continue to be manifested in the current international situation.
Vladimir Putin stressed that next year the parties will jointly celebrate the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty on Good Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation between Russia and China, which is an important milestone in the history of Russian-Chinese relations.
By the way, this agreement was signed by Vladimir Putin in the first year of his presidency. And these 20 years passed quickly. This is a really important milestone. Without this document, Sino-Russian relations would not have reached the current high level. However, the leaders of the two countries think ahead. They understand that this document has a strong vitality and exemplary impact, especially in the current international situation, it has an even deeper meaning.
What will China and Russia do in the coming year?
In 2021, both sides will definitely celebrate the anniversary of the signing of the important document.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said: “Both sides should take the opportunity to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the signing of the treaty next year as an opportunity to develop bilateral cooperation in an even broader framework, in even more areas, with even greater depth.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin also promised that Russia is steadily striving to promote comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation at a high level of development of Russian-Chinese relations. Vladimir Putin said that he is ready to continue to play a strategic leading role together with Chinese President Xi Jinping, so that Russian-Chinese relations will be given a new impetus in the new year.
We are deeply confident that China-Russia relations will become even more impressive in 2021.
High frequency of use of the word “strategic”
For example, the leaders of the two countries stressed:
- both sides should strengthen the “strategic interaction”;
- to strengthen the “strategic cooperation”;
- play a “strategic leadership” role together;
- maintain close “strategic coordination and cooperation” in international affairs;
- maintain global “strategic stability”.
Why is the word “strategic” so often used? Strategy is a long-term plan and a great goal. Fighting for a short period of time can be achieved with tactics, and one needs a strategy to achieve a great goal!
We remember that during the telephone conversation in May 2020, the two leaders also stressed that “China and Russia, as the main victorious countries in the World War II and permanent members of the UN Security Council, have a special mission to maintain global peace and security, as well as to promote the progress and development of humanity.”
Sino-Russian relations are strategic relations with a special mission.
Happy New Year Greetings
Since it was a telephone conversation between old friends on the eve of the New Year, the two leaders warmly congratulated each other on the upcoming New Year holidays and wished the Chinese and Russian peoples happy New Year.
Sino-Russian relations have a powerful internal driving force
Xi Jinping said that the Sino-Russian relations have a strong internal driving force and their own value, they are not affected by changes in the international situation and no other factors. Strengthening strategic cooperation between China and Russia can effectively counter any attempts to suppress and divide the two countries and create a strong barrier to maintaining international impartiality and justice.
The message is actually very clear: some forces always hatch plans to destroy Russian-Chinese relations. But strengthening strategic cooperation between China and Russia can effectively counter any attempts to suppress and divide the two countries.
This was confirmed by President of Russia Vladimir Putin. He said that Russia is ready to cooperate with China to continue to firmly support each other on issues affecting each other's key interests, to conduct closer strategic coordination and cooperation in international affairs, and to contribute to maintaining strategic stability on a global scale.
China and Russia firmly support each other on key issues of mutual vital interests. Support in this case is mutual and firm.
Recently, during a speech at the Valdai Discussion Forum, a Chinese professor asked Vladimir Putin the direct question: is it possible to imagine a military alliance between China and Russia?
Vladimir Putin answered quite simply: “Our relations have reached such a degree of interaction and trust that we do not need it, but in theory it is quite possible to imagine such a thing. How it will develop further — life will show. But we do not set ourselves such a task now. But in principle, we are not going to exclude this. So we'll see.”
It sounded very significant.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian stressed that there was no limit to the development of traditional friendship between China and Russia and there was no forbidden zone for expanding cooperation.
One cannot conquer alone. The world has not seen such a big change in a century. Russia needs China, China needs Russia, and the world needs strong cooperation between China and Russia, as well as upholding justice on the part of the two countries.
After all, Sino-Russian relations are unusual, now the two powers have a special mission on their shoulders!