BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing on Wednesday on the sidelines of the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF), and during the meeting, Xi said China is willing to deepen cooperation with Russia and jointly safeguard global justice and fairness and contribute to global development.
Xi extended his welcome to Putin for attending the BRF, calling him an “old friend,” as over the past decade since 2013, Xi has met with Putin 42 times, establishing a strong working relationship and deep friendship.
Xi said Putin has attended the BRF three times in a row, demonstrating Russia’s support for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
A major significance of Putin’s visit to China is the demonstration of the high level of strategic coordination between Russia and China, and especially given the current international landscape and challenges that Russia has been facing, there is a need for the two sides to enhance coordination at both bilateral and international levels to counter the West’s unreasonable containment and suppression, Chinese experts said.
Unlike the bloc confrontation driven by the West, the partnership between China and Russia is an open cooperation for mutual benefits, which eyes peaceful and common development, which is not the so-called alliance hyped by Western public opinion, experts said, noting that in a changing international landscape, the West-led power politics has led Global South countries to seek solidarity for mutual support.
China supports the Russian people in pursuing the path of national rejuvenation independently and safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests, he said, calling on the two sides to promote high-quality development of China-Russia practical cooperation and actively explore cooperation in strategic emerging industries.
“Under the international landscape, apparently, Russia has a more positive attitude in developing relations with China,” Zhang Hong, an associate research fellow at the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told media on Wednesday.
China-Russia relations have been continuously developing as the two heads of state share many similar understandings about bilateral relations and the geopolitical landscape, including the importance of a secure and stable environment among neighboring regions and the need to push the global order in a democratic and fair direction, Zhang said.
Xi pointed out that not long ago, BRICS countries had achieved a historic expansion, demonstrating the confidence of developing countries in promoting a multipolar world and the democratization of international relations.
China is willing to continue to strengthen communication and collaboration with Russia in multilateral frameworks such as the UN, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, G20 and so on, playing a bigger role in ensuring food and energy security, and the stability of global industrial and supply chains, thereby protecting the common interests of China, Russia and other developing countries, Xi said.
The two heads of state also exchanged in-depth views on the situation in Israel and Palestine. China has been successfully implementing the Belt and Road Initiative, and Russia welcomes that success, Putin said in an address to a plenary session of the third BRF, TASS reported.
Given the Eurasian Economic Union, Russia maintains very close ties with Central Asia, and its support for the BRI is of immense significance, Cui Heng, an assistant research fellow from the Center for Russian Studies of East China Normal University, said.
“The reason Russia chose to support the BRI is that over the past decade, Russia has reaped dividends from its development. The cooperation between the two countries is not merely based on mutual strategic needs, nor is it a short-term measure for convenience,” Cui said, noting that Russia, in reality, is already enjoying the dividends from BRI development.
China is willing to work with Russia and other member countries of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) to promote the alignment of the BRI with the EAEU, so as to foster higher-level and deeper regional cooperation, Xi said. China hopes that the China-Mongolia-Russia natural gas pipeline project will make substantive progress as soon as possible, he added.
“We are happy that our president keeps it this way and makes our friendship and partnership more deeper, more wider, and more stronger,” Arkady Korostelev, CEO of Moscow-based logistics company the Far Eastern Shipping Company, said.
The Russian business representative said their main market is China and they are happy to meet more international partners here under this initiative. “We are a leading container operator in Russia. And one of our main business partners is Chinese ports. We work with more than eight Chinese ports here and have a very big forecast for future ties with them,” he said.
Besides the pragmatic cooperation that China and Russia have already achieved, which includes areas like energy and interconnected projects, the two countries are collaborating on issues related to the fate of humanity, some experts said, including aiding refugees, addressing the global security deficit and the global development deficit.
“As the Western powers led by the US have been inactive in assuming more responsibility for maintaining global security and development, emerging nations like China and Russia must shoulder more such responsibility,” Cui said.