Stable devt of China-Russia ties beneficial to world peace, prosperity: Global Times editorial

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet the press on May 16 in Beijing. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet the press on May 16 in Beijing. Photo: Xinhua

On May 16, Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is in China on a state visit, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. The two heads of state jointly met the press, signed and issued the Joint Statement of the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation on Deepening the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Coordination for the New Era in the Context of the 75th Anniversary of China-Russia Diplomatic Relations (hereinafter referred to as the “Statement”). Under the strategic guidance of the two leaders, China and Russia have consistently developed their bilateral relations based on the principles of non-alignment, non-confrontation, and not targeting any third party, setting an example of peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation between major powers. This not only aligns with the fundamental interests of both countries and their peoples but also contributes to regional and global peace, stability, and prosperity.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Russia. Summarizing the notable progress in China-Russia relations over the past 75 years, President Xi said that it is attributable to the two countries’ commitment to five principles. First, China and Russia are committed to mutual respect as the fundamental principle of relations, and always render support for each other’s core interests. Second, China and Russia are committed to win-win cooperation as the driving force of relations, and work to foster a new paradigm of mutual benefit. Third, China and Russia are committed to lasting friendship as the foundation of relations, and carry forward the torch of Sino-Russian friendship. Fourth, China and Russia are committed to strategic coordination as an underpinning of relations, and steer global governance in the right direction. Fifth, China and Russia are committed to fairness and justice as the purpose of relations, and dedicated to the political settlement of hotspots. These “five principles” set an exemplary model for relations between neighboring major powers and will continue to guide China-Russia relations toward new successes.

The relationship between China and Russia, two major powers, is unique in the history of modern international relations. The two countries are not military-political allies, but rather represent a new model of major power relations characterized by non-alignment, non-confrontation, and not targeting any third country. The development of their relationship has its own internal logic and driving force. It is not a threat to any country, nor is it subject to any interference or discord sown by any third party. This is a summary of the extraordinary 75-year development history of China-Russia relations. Both countries respect each other’s national sovereignty, security, and development interests, as well as their own chosen development path, which is the “secret” to why their relationship has become a model for the development of partnerships between major powers and neighboring countries. As President Xi said, this is not only the correct way for China and Russia to get along, but also the direction that major-country relations should strive for in the 21st century.

The close cooperation between China and Russia is a driving force for stability in the international landscape. This year, Russia assumes the rotating presidency of the BRICS countries, and China will also take over the rotating presidency of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization within the year. The two countries work together to promote regional stability and development, strengthen the alignment between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union, and jointly promote cooperation among the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the BRICS mechanism, and countries in the Global South. Both countries uphold multilateralism, oppose hegemony and unilateralism in international organizations such as the United Nations and the G20, effectively promoting the democratization and multipolarization of the global order, as well as firmly upholding international fairness and justice.

Currently, some countries are using “national security” as a pretext to promote deglobalization and group politics, kidnapping allies to push for “decoupling” and build “small yard, high fence.” This has increased the complexity and uncertainty of regional and global security situations. As permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and Russia share similar security views and maintain effective strategic communication. They jointly oppose zero-sum games and Cold War mentality, group politics, confrontational blocs, dividing the world based on ideology and political systems, and confrontational policies and interference in other countries’ internal affairs. This is a positive asset for the world. In the Statement, China and Russia propose that, given the current geopolitical context, it is necessary to explore the establishment of a sustainable security system in the Eurasian space based on the principles of equal and indivisible security, outlining a blueprint for achieving genuine regional common security.

In recent years, with Russia’s focus on “turning to the East” in foreign economic cooperation, China-Russia economic and trade cooperation has developed rapidly. China has been Russia’s largest trading partner for 13 consecutive years, accounting for 32 percent of Russia’s foreign trade. Russia became China’s fourth largest trading partner in 2023. These achievements are not easy and have been achieved by both countries overcoming various external challenges and unfavorable factors, highlighting the solid foundation of the China-Russia relationship. This year also marks the “China-Russia Years of Culture.” The two countries and their people have a strong driving force to enhance mutual understanding and continue lasting friendship through deepening cultural exchanges.

A mountain is formed by accumulation of soil and an ocean is formed by accumulation of water. After 75 years of solid accumulation, lasting friendship and all-round cooperation between China and Russia provide a strong impetus for the two countries to forge ahead despite wind and rain. In the future, guided by head-of-state diplomacy, the two countries, standing at a new historical starting point, will jointly promote the all-round development of the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for the new era, create more benefits for their peoples and make a due contribution to global security and stability.

Closer partnership between China, Serbia, Hungary to bear more fruits, creating many shared benefits

The Hungarian section of the Hungary-Serbia railway is under track-laying construction. Photo: Courtesy of the Hungarian branch of CREC

The Hungarian section of the Hungary-Serbia railway is under track-laying construction. Photo: Courtesy of the Hungarian branch of CREC

A track-laying machine made a rumbling sound as concrete sleepers are placed on the roadbed. Two-hundred-meter-long rails extend and fall steadily onto the sleepers through a mix of manual labor and high-tech machinery.

This has become a common scene during track-laying construction on the Hungarian section of the Hungary-Serbia railway, the flagship cooperative project under China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Here, extended railway lines are connecting scattered cities into an accessible and dynamic network, linking Hungary and Serbia, two Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries ever closer together.

Engaged in a wide range of fields such as transportation, high-end manufacturing and mining, Chinese companies have been actively promoting economic development in the regional countries. The companies bring with them advanced technology, high-tech equipment, modern management concept, and integrate them to better meet local development needs, contributing to the economic growth and improvement of the people’s livelihood there.

As the BRI now enters its second golden decade, this week’s state visits by China’s top leader chart the course for cooperation between China and the two CEE countries in their respective pursuit of high-quality development.

A number of Chinese companies rooted in Serbia and Hungary for many years have recently shared with the Global Times how they have achieved win-win cooperation and development under the BRI framework. The companies are looking forward to embracing new opportunities for high-quality development in the two countries.

Promotion of synergy

Along a section of the Hungary-Serbia railway in Hungary, which is been built by a Chinese company, track laying work is progressing smoothly. Since the job officially commenced at the end of May last year, about 70 percent of track laying work within the section has been completed, with the overall project completion rate exceeding 55 percent, the Global Times learned.

By the time of its completion, the regional transportation network will be significantly improved, providing greater convenience for both passengers and cargo delivery across the CEE economies.

The Hungary-Serbia railway could well illustrate how China’s BRI projects can help promote the regional economic synergy.

At a heavy equipment manufacturing plant in Ruma, Serbia, excavators and haulage vehicles were seen navigate through the site, accompanied by the rhythmic sounds of welding, cutting, and hammering. Amid this activity, workers diligently carry out tasks such as reinforcing steel bars and pouring foundation concrete, ensuring an organized and efficient work flow.

China Construction First Group has participated in the construction of the new factory project. With a keen focus on meeting the deadline, they aim to complete the prefabricated components during the second half of 2024. Once finished, this facility, owned by the Chinese company Haitian Group, will serve as a pivotal manufacturing hub for equipment like injection molding machines in the European region, the Global Times learned from China Construction First Group.

Chen Shuai, deputy general manager of the Fifth Construction Co, China Construction First Group, told the Global Times that the company is seizing the opportunity presented by the successful execution of the factory project in Serbia, to facilitate the expansion of China’s industrial manufacturing capacity overseas.

As the bilateral strategic partnership relations deepen, Chen holds strong expectations for further tapping into the potential for deeper cooperation for Chinese companies in Serbia.

Specifically, they will ramp up efforts to capitalize on the burgeoning development of infrastructure in Serbia, participating in projects spanning roads, bridges, tunnels, and renewable energy production, among other industrial lines, Chen said.

Serbia Zijin Copper DOO in Bor, Serbia, a joint venture between China’s Zijin Mining Group and Serbia, sets a good example of how the BRI prompts greater synergy in the regional development. By the end of 2023, the copper mine project in Bor had amassed investments totaling $2.498 billion, nearly double the promised investment of $1.26 billion in 2018, the company told the Global Times.

With a cumulative copper production of 356,000 tons and gold production of 9.8 tons, the project contributed nearly $500 million in taxes and fees and made a social contribution of $850 million, according to the company. Also, it created over 9,000 jobs. In 2023, the company achieved export revenues of around $720 million, significantly promoting the mutual development of stakeholders in Serbia.

Looking ahead, the company plans to add $1.2 billion in new investments in the next three years. The goal is to increase copper production of the copper mine in Bor from currently 120,000 tons per year to 220,000 tons per year by 2030, the company said.

High-quality growth

As the BRI embarks on its new journey after10 years of golden development, more possibilities will emerge in the cooperation between China and the regional countries.

The meetings between the top leaders of China and the regional countries this week have set the tone for deepening the bilateral ties while pushing the cooperation toward high-quality development.

In the joint statement signed on Wednesday between China and Serbia, both sides vowed to take the opportunity of entering a new stage of high-quality development in the joint construction of the BRI. They aim to deepen and expand cooperation in various fields, including trade, investment, technology innovation, digitalization, and telecommunications.

Meanwhile, China and Hungary are also expected to sign multiple cooperation agreements following the important meetings between leaders of the two countries, injecting new momentum into the development of bilateral relations.

In a recent interview with the Global Times, Chinese Ambassador to Hungary Gong Tao said that, in the future, both sides will continue to promote high-quality joint construction of the BRI, focusing on key areas such as digital economy, green development, and information technology.

During recent years, China has actively promoted cooperation with the CEE countries under the BRI. This initiative has yielded tangible benefits for the region, effectively enhancing connectivity between China, Eastern Europe, and the broader European region, Song Wei, a professor from the School of International Relations at Beijing Foreign Studies University, told the Global Times on Thursday, describing China-CEE cooperation as a role model for cross-regional collaboration.

Despite the marked progress, economic development in CEE is still encountering some challenges, including poverty reduction, and how to achieve faster economic modernization in the region, according to Song.

Song emphasized that amid the pursuit of high-quality cooperation and partnership, China will remain committed to further supporting CEE countries in integrating them into the global value chain.

Specifically, Song said that enhancing mutual investment programs, including on setting up joint investment funds, would incentivize more local enterprises in CEE to participate in the BRI.

The countries in the region are eager to draw from China’s successful developmental experiences. Therefore, both sides may intensify efforts to collaborate on a series of training programs and exchanges, facilitating mutual learning and development in the future, Song said.

“The commitment aims to foster closer economic and trade ties between China and the CEE economies, assisting the region to better tackle its corresponding challenges in the future,” Song said.

Azerbaijani ambassador praises China’s stance on new-energy collaboration, hoping for strengthened ties to boost green transformation

Customs staff members check the first

Customs staff members check the first “Qilu” freight train running from Jiaozhou, east China’s Shandong province to Baku, capital of Azerbaijan in Jiaozhou, Jan. 31, 2021. A freight train carrying 100 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) containers’ goods such as tires and air conditions left Jiaozhou on Sunday, marking the launch of “Qilu” freight train services from Jiaozhou to Baku. (Photo by Xie Hao/Xinhua)

Azerbaijan is fully ready to develop economic and trade relations with China without setting any ceiling or limit in terms of scope, Ambassador of Azerbaijan to China Bunyad Huseynov said in an exclusive interview with the Global Times, giving examples of the potential for deeper cooperation in the new-energy industry, where the two countries are highly complementary.

As the world is at a crucial moment in the transition to green energy, the ambassador hopes to deepen cooperation with Chinese companies to achieve sustainable development and win-win outcomes.

Speaking at an investment promotion event held by the Embassy of Azerbaijan in China earlier this week, Huseynov said that China’s remarkable achievements in the field of new energy are well known, and highly complementary cooperation is already well underway.

Recently, Azerbaijan initiated a bidding process to build a new-energy vehicle (NEV) factory. Chinese automaker BYD won the bid and signed an agreement to establish a joint venture company and set up an electric bus production line in Azerbaijan, the ambassador said.

The country is planning to gradually replace fuel buses with electric ones in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, Huseynov said, indicating possible cooperation.

“We are also in communication with Contemporary Amperex Technology – a Chinese lithium-ion battery company – regarding the construction of energy storage projects in Azerbaijan,” the envoy said.

The Embassy of Azerbaijan in China is also actively promoting the green transformation and strengthening cooperation with Chinese companies in this field, including replacing the embassy’s fuel vehicles with BYD’s NEVs, the Global Times learned from the embassy.

Chinese companies are also involved in the green energy transition as investors, builders and operators, including in the photovoltaic power sector, according to the embassy.

Closer cooperation in the green field can be foreseen as both countries are playing an increasingly important role in tackling climate change on the world stage.

This November, Azerbaijan will host the 29th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP29) in Baku.

In March, Azerbaijani Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources and president-designate of the COP29 Mukhtar Babayev visited China along with a delegation. This was the first visit of the country’s COP team abroad, to understand China’s expectations from the climate change conference.

“I believe that both countries share a high degree of consensus on the green agenda,” Huseynov said.

Ambassador of Azerbaijan to China Bunyad Huseynov Photo: Yin Yeping/GT

Ambassador of Azerbaijan to China Bunyad Huseynov Photo: Yin Yeping/GT

China takes the lead in wind energy and solar, as well as electric vehicles, and is willing to share its achievements with other countries, which the ambassador said “demonstrates China’s open and win-win cooperation attitude.”

Azerbaijan hopes to play a role as a regional growth hub, and cooperating with the booming Chinese new-energy industry can help it achieve its own transformation, Chinese experts said.

“Azerbaijan does not want to remain solely in the fields of fossil energy and raw materials. It hopes to make achievements in the new manufacturing industry, and strengthening cooperation with Chinese companies in the field is a natural option to reach that goal,” Zhang Hong, a senior research fellow at the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Deepening cooperation with Chinese enterprises can help Azerbaijan achieve its energy transformation faster and enhance its industrial innovation capabilities, meeting its needs for industrial modernization and development, Zhang said.

Azerbaijan is not alone. Countries such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Russia are also actively attracting Chinese NEV companies to invest in building factories in a bid to drive the development of their own NEV industry chains.

The positive moves of these regional countries are in stark contrast with the intensified protectionist actions taken by the US, experts said.

Asked for comments on the “overcapacity” narrative in new energy by some Western media outlets, the Azerbaijani ambassador said that China not only produces high-quality and affordable products but is also willing to share these achievements with the world.

“The world is at a crucial moment in the transition to green energy, and Chinese companies are collaborating with those from other countries with an open attitude to help them achieve this energy transformation,” Huseynov said, noting that “this initiative is worthy of praise.”

“Regardless of how certain media outlets may perceive it, I greatly appreciate China’s open and cooperative attitude,” Huseynov said

On a separate note, the ambassador highly commended the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, in which Azerbaijan has been one of the earliest and most active respondents and participants.

“The value of this global cooperation initiative lies in ‘building bridges rather than walls’,” Huseynov said, noting that this joint initiative “serves as a demonstration of the spirit of cooperation and openness, which is needed for global development at the current stage.”

China will continue to assist Asia-Pacific countries to rapidly develop their economies under BRI framework: experts

An electric multiple unit (EMU) machinist trainee tries the high-speed train simulator at Tegalluar High Speed Train Depot of the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway in Bandung, Indonesia, on January 17, 2024. Photo: VCG

An electric multiple unit (EMU) machinist trainee tries the high-speed train simulator at Tegalluar High Speed Train Depot of the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway in Bandung, Indonesia, on January 17, 2024. Photo: VCG

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently concluded his successful visit to three Asia-Pacific countries, displaying China’s willingness to strengthen cooperation with the region.  As good friends and economic partners based on mutual respect, equality, and mutual benefit, China’s relations with regional countries are evolving and constantly reaching new heights.

One important focus of Wang’s trip was the high-quality construction of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). China’s cooperation with Indonesia, Cambodia, and Papua New Guinea under the BRI platform has yielded fruitful results.

In Indonesia, the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway has become the first high-speed railroad in Southeast Asia, delivering tangible benefits to local development and improving livelihoods of many Indonesians.

In Cambodia, highways constructed with Chinese aid and industrial parks built by Chinese companies have become important drivers of local economic development.

As the first Pacific island country to sign a memorandum of understanding and cooperation with China under the BRI, Papua New Guinea has become China’s largest trading partner, investment destination, and engineering contracting market in Pacific island countries. 

Unlike the US’ past efforts in the Asia-Pacific region, often attached with political strings and hardly bearing any substantive results, China’s cooperation and assistance to the countries in the region are based on principles of mutual respect, equality, and win-win, without imposition of any political conditions, experts said.

As the BRI celebrated its 10th anniversary last year, embarking on a new journey of high-quality development, experts said that China’s cooperation with Asia-Pacific countries will continue to focus on helping regional countries achieve sustainable development and improve locals’ livelihood. This includes enhancing cooperation in emerging areas such as green development and digitalization.

Friends and partners

During Chinese Foreign Minister Wang’s recent visit, important exchange meetings with regional countries were held, including the Fourth Meeting of the China-Indonesia High-level Dialogue Cooperation Mechanism co-chaired by Wang and Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Indonesia’s coordinator for cooperation with China and coordinating minister of maritime affairs and investment, as well as the Seventh Meeting of the China-Cambodia Intergovernmental Coordination Committee, co-chaired by Wang and Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sun Chanthol.

High-level interactions provided clearer direction for future cooperation under the BRI between China and the three countries. 

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian, while describing Wang’s visits, used a common description when referring to the three countries as “good friends and good partners” based on the principles of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and shared development.

That characterization is fair and fitting, given the well-known friendly relations between these three countries and China, experts said, noting that the joint construction of the BRI serves as an accelerator for the continuous growth and enhancement of friendly cooperation between China and the regional countries.

The tangible results under the joint initiative are evident for all to see. 

Last week, the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway marked its sixth month of operation with a total of 2.56 million passengers being transported. Since its official operation around mid-October, the railway has operated a total of 7,050 rides with a mileage of over 1.26 million kilometers, Xinhua News Agency reported, citing data provided by PT Kereta Cepat Indonesia-China, a joint venture consortium between Indonesian and Chinese state-owned firms that constructs and runs the HSR.

In the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone, a landmark project under the BRI in southwestern Cambodia, changes have taken place with the participation of Chinese companies. Over the past decade, the economic zone, a joint venture between Chinese and Cambodian companies, has drawn more than 175 companies from countries including China, Europe, the US, Southeast Asia and other regions to settle there, creating more than 30,000 local jobs.

Papua New Guinea, the largest Pacific Island country, was the first country to sign a memorandum of understanding and cooperation plan in the region for jointly building the BRI.

The Juncao and Upland Rice Project has been implemented in Papua New Guinea for over 20 years, benefiting more than 40,000 local people. The country’s Prime Minister James Marape referred to Juncao technology as a “gift from China to the world,” with Juncao now known locally as the “grass of happiness” and “grass of prosperity.”

China and Papua New Guinea are engaging in negotiations to reach a free trade agreement, and the talks are expected to be completed by June, Chen Hong, director of the Australian Studies Center of East China Normal University, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

Chen noted that this illustrates that China’s cooperation with Asia-Pacific countries is genuinely based on mutual benefit, using strong economic ties to drive overall cooperation and improve local economies and living standards.

China’s foreign minister’s trip to the Asia-Pacific is of landmark significance as the current relations between China and the regional countries have continued to improve and have reached a very important moment, Zhao Gancheng, a research fellow from the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Against the background of a volatile international landscape, China continues to adhere to multilateralism and inclusive growth in the region, despite the protectionism and egoism of the US, Zhao said.

China’s cooperation with the countries differs significantly from that of the US-led West, which often prioritizes its own strategic objectives before local interests, Chen said.

Stark contrast

While the US pledges in the Asia-Pacific often fails to materialize, resulting in empty promises and broad disappointment, China’s cooperation under the BRI in the region is in stark contrast – Chinese involvement directly improves education, healthcare, employment and more in the region, Chen said.

During Wang’s visit in Indonesia, he referenced public expectations to expand bilateral cooperation in three key directions – digital economy, green development, and improvement of people’s livelihood, under the framework of the BRI.

As the BRI is entering a new phase of high-quality development, new opportunities in green economy and digital economy are emerging as countries pursue sustainable development. The extent of Belt and Road cooperation in Asia-Pacific will undoubtedly be expanded to include new frontiers like clean renewable energies and electric vehicles and more, which also signify new quality productive forces in the coming wave of high-quality development, Chen said.

What needs to be tackled next, according to Zhao, is to complete cooperation projects that were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, China’s cooperation with regional countries will always be kept as open and transparent and lead to more tangible results for local residents. 

“Infrastructure development have been and will continue to be an important part of the BRI cooperation in building quality roads, bridges, railways and other crucial infrastructure,” Zhao said. The economic partnership will only get closer and stronger, he added. 

China expects more economic, sci-tech cooperation with San Francisco, Breed visit sends positive signs for bilateral exchanges

A group of 24 US students from Lincoln Middle School and Steilacoom Historical School in Washington set off from San Francisco to begin their trip to China, on March 16, 2024. Photo: IC

A group of 24 US students from Lincoln Middle School and Steilacoom Historical School in Washington set off from San Francisco to begin their trip to China, on March 16, 2024. Photo: IC

Chinese Vice President Han Zheng on Thursday met with visiting Mayor of San Francisco London Breed, expressing hopes that the mayor’s visit will further boost economic and sci-tech cooperation between the two sides, the Xinhua News Agency reported. 

Observers said that Breed’s visit has sent a positive signal for promoting local and non-governmental exchanges between China and the US, following the visit of US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to China, and they hoped that the momentum would be further extended. 

Recalling it was in San Francisco that the historic China-US summit took place in November 2023, Han said that the US city has a longstanding bond with China and has been at the forefront of California and the US in terms of exchanges with China.

Han said he hoped that Breed’s visit will further promote bilateral cooperation in economy, trade, science and technology; create highlights in jointly meeting climate change challenges; increase personnel and cultural exchanges; enhance the friendship between the two peoples, and promote the sound and steady development of China-US relations.

Breed said that her visit aims to implement the important consensus reached at the San Francisco summit and promote the development of bilateral relations through local and non-governmental exchanges.

San Francisco will continue to strengthen personnel exchanges and practical cooperation with China in various fields, Breed said.

Exchanges at local and non-governmental levels will be conducive to maintaining bilateral ties under a situation in which high-level communication between the two countries is not going smoothly, Gao Lingyun, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Gao said that local exchanges mainly involve personnel and cultural exchanges, and economic and trade cooperation, as both sides have made efforts to bolster cooperation. 

Breed’s visit and interactions with local officials and representatives showed the city’s willingness to advance cooperation with China, demonstrating complementarity and the need for bilateral cooperation, and showcasing a positive significance despite some double-faced practices implemented by the US, Li Yong, a senior research fellow at the China Association of International Trade, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Both Gao and Li highlighted the consolidating cooperation between China and the US at the local level, as these mechanisms have been progressing against the backdrop of some issues that may be affected by geopolitical factors. 

Before heading to Beijing, Breed visited Guangzhou and Shenzhen in South China’s Guangdong Province. Mayors from Guangzhou and Shenzhen highlighted the cooperation potential between the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) and the San Francisco Bay Area, due to their rapid economic development and innovative vitality, during their meetings with Breed.  

Shenzhen Mayor Qin Weizhong said that Shenzhen is willing to strengthen cooperation with San Francisco in fields including economic and trade exchanges, technological innovation and emerging industries. 

Breed said that she hoped to step up cooperation with Shenzhen in artificial intelligence, new-energy vehicles, sports and tourism while deepening exchanges between young people from the two cities. 

When meeting Breed on Tuesday, Guangzhou’s Mayor Sun Zhiyang said that the city aims to further strengthen practical exchanges and bilateral cooperation in fields such as the low-carbon economy. 

Despite the US crackdown on China’s high-tech sector, observers said that Breed’s visits to Shenzhen and Guangzhou, China’s major tech hubs, showed that the US still seeks to promote cooperation in related fields with China at the local level. 

Cooperation between China and the US will form a rational, win-win situation despite issues that may appear in economic and trade exchanges, which will actually help sort out some of the problems, Li noted. 

Local-level cooperation between the two countries has broad potential with new opportunities benefiting both sides, Li said. 

Breed is visiting China from April 14 to Sunday. During her stay in China, she will celebrate the 45th anniversary of sister city status for San Francisco and Shanghai, the mayor’s office said in response to a Global Times email inquiry. 

“I am honored to be invited to travel to China and meet with leaders in business, innovation and government to cultivate economic opportunities and strengthen ties between San Francisco and cities across the region,” Breed was quoted as saying. 

China’s anti-dumping probe into EU brandy doesn’t target any member: commerce minister

China EU Photo:VCG

China EU Photo:VCG

Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao said on Monday in France that China’s anti-dumping investigation into brandy imported from the EU does not target any specific EU countries nor carry predefined findings, as China and the EU have strengthened communication recently to clear the clouds hanging over bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

Analysts said that China’s anti-dumping probe into the brandy imports is fundamentally different from the EU’s politically motivated anti-subsidy investigations into Chinese electric vehicles (EVs).

They urged the EU to increase its strategic independence and join hands with China to appropriately deal with disagreements through dialogue for the benefit of both sides as well as global economic growth.

The anti-dumping investigation was prompted by a complaint submitted by China’s brandy industry, Wang said when meeting with three French brandy trade associations and five French brandy producers in Paris, according to a statement on the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) website.

China will conduct the investigation openly and transparently in accordance with Chinese law and WTO rules, while fully safeguarding the rights of all stakeholders, the minister said.

Wang’s remarks came as Western media outlets hyped the Chinese move as a tit-for-tat countermeasure to the EU’s anti-subsidy investigations into Chinese EVs.

“The EU’s protectionist move is purely a political decision by the European Commission, which is groundless and violates WTO rules,” Zhang Jian, vice president of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Zhang blasted some European politicians – under pressure from the US – who advocate “de-risking” against China, resulting in serious disruptions to normal China-EU economic and trade cooperation.

Amid the global trade slowdown and other factors, China-EU trade in goods slipped 7.1 percent year-on-year to reach $783 billion in 2023, according to data released by China’s General Administration of Customs.

However, recent frequent exchanges between senior Chinese and European officials have sent a positive signal of deepening China-EU economic and trade development, Yang Chengyu, an associate research fellow at the Institute of European Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

According to Western media reports, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will visit China in mid-April with a business delegation. Some leading German companies confirmed to the Global Times the participation of their CEOs in the delegation.

As economic and trade relations remain a ballast stone for China-EU relations, deepening pragmatic cooperation in more sectors conforms to both sides’ interests, according to Yang.

“The EU is pursuing a green and digital transition, while China has notable production capacity advantages in these areas. Thus, increased economic and trade cooperation will contribute to the bloc’s development and prosperity,” Yang said, noting that “de-risking” will risk losing opportunities from the huge China market.

Wang met members of the French business community including Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury and BNP Paribas Chairman Jean Lemierre. During the meetings, the French companies said that they are firmly positive about China’s economic prospects and business environment, with commitments to long-term development in the market, according to a separate statement on the Chinese Commerce Ministry’s website.

Along with China’s high-level opening-up, European companies have rapidly increased investment in the market for greater opportunities. Volkswagen has established its largest overseas research and development (R&D) center in North China’s Tianjin. 

Valeo has announced plans to build a comfort and driving assistance systems manufacturing and R&D site in Shanghai. AstraZeneca will invest $475 million to build a small molecule drug factory in Wuxi, East China’s Jiangsu Province.

During Wang’s meetings with French officials and business executives in Paris, he stressed that China is promoting high-quality development and accelerating the development of new quality productive forces so as to create a fair competition environment for domestic and foreign enterprises, providing wider opportunities for European companies, including those from France.

China is willing to join hands with France to give play to existing economic and trade mechanisms to appropriately control disagreements through dialogue and cooperation and strengthen efforts to address each other’s reasonable key concerns, Wang said.

It’s normal that China and the EU have disagreements, experts said. With understanding and consensus, the two sides will be able to appropriately deal with these disagreements and boost China-EU economic and trade cooperation to a direction that benefits both sides, Zhang said, expressing optimism for the prospects of bilateral trade cooperation.

GT Voice: China-Russia trade can withstand escalating pressure from the West

Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived in Beijing for an official visit on Monday. With escalating Western sanctions on Russia, how China-Russia economic and trade cooperation will be affected has become a topic of concern. 

Against this backdrop, Lavrov’s latest visit to China is being closely watched by observers with great interest. The visit comes at a time when economic and trade cooperation between China and Russia is at a critical juncture. 

On the one hand, Moscow has accelerated the shift of its economic cooperation focus to the Asia-Pacific market, with China emerging as a key player. The scale and quality of China-Russia economic exchanges are steadily improving, covering areas like trade, industry, agriculture, logistics and infrastructure.

On the other hand, the US and its European allies have been ramping up sanctions on Russia, which have exerted tremendous pressure on the Russian economy and led to unprecedented challenges to the economic and trade relationship between Russia and China. 

It can be anticipated that China-Russia trade will face more strains than ever under the Western pressure. For instance, even during a visit to China, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen still warned on Saturday that there will be “significant consequences” for China if its companies support Russia, Politico reported.

Western pressure on China over its Russia trade is not just due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, but also due to strategic goals, such as Washington’s aim of targeting and containing China by means of sanctions. More and more signs show that it is actually a tactic of the West to point a finger at normal trade between China and Russia, which aims to use the opportunity to hurt Chinese companies and hinder the development of Chinese manufacturing and businesses.

However, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said in a press conference in February that normal trade and economic cooperation between China and Russia is not targeted at any third party or subject to any interference by any third party. 

China firmly opposes illegal unilateral sanctions against Chinese companies and will take necessary measures to resolutely protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies, Mao said.

China remains steadfast in its position on this matter. Like many other developing countries and emerging economies, China is committed to pursuing its own interests while also adhering to international norms in economic and trade cooperation. Despite external pressures, China’s willingness to continue economic and trade cooperation with Russia will not change. 

China will not compromise its basic principles or its stance due to the long-arm jurisdiction of the US, nor will it become a follower of any other country’s strategy. Chinese companies may take precautions to mitigate risks, but their willingness to cooperate and adhere to those principles will remain unwavering.

The deepening cooperation between China and Russia is a strong manifestation of the resilience of their trade, which is unlikely to be affected by Western sanctions in the long run. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Russia, with bilateral trade flourishing at a record pace. In 2023, China-Russia trade reached $240.11 billion, up 26.3 percent compared with the previous year.

Also, about 92 percent of trade settlements between Russia and China are now conducted in Russian rubles and the yuan, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexey Overchuk said at the Boao Forum for Asia last month.

Such developments show the strong vitality and potential of China-Russia economic cooperation, which enjoys a high degree of trade complementarities, political mutual trust and diversified areas for cooperation. All these factors together constitute a strong foundation for bilateral trade, enabling it to withstand challenges amid the complex international environment.

Trade with China mainly settled in yuan, rubles: Russian deputy PM

Aerial photo taken on Feb. 21, 2021 shows the first China-Europe freight train linking St. Petersburg of Russia with Chengdu departing the Chengdu International Railway Port in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan Province. Photo: Xinhua

Aerial photo taken on February 21, 2021 shows the first China-Europe freight train linking St. Petersburg of Russia with Chengdu departing the Chengdu International Railway Port in Chengdu, Southwest China’s Sichuan Province. Photo: Xinhua

About 92 percent of trade settlement between Russia and China is now conducted in Russian rubles and Chinese yuan, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Overchuk said on Wednesday at the ongoing Boao Forum for Asia in South China’s Hainan Province.

He also said that Russia hopes to strengthen financial ties with other countries to replace the US dollar in the international arena in the future, in a bid to ensure the stability and security of local currencies.

Overchuk’s remarks came amid growing emphasis by both sides on trade in local currency and de-dollarization efforts in a bid to reduce risks and costs. In July 2023, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced at the 23rd Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization that over 80 percent of trade settlement between Russia and China was conducted in Russian rubles and Chinese yuan, according to media reports.

Bilateral trade between China and Russia continues to show upward momentum, reaching $240.1 billion in 2023, up 26.3 percent from a year earlier. The figure was over $190 billion in 2022, with energy taking the key share.

China-Russia relations are a model of relations between major powers. When talking about the relationship between Russia and China, Overchuk emphasized that the dynamic and stable relationship between the two countries is based on mutual respect, equality, and years of profound historical exchanges between the two governments. Russia will continue to promote the growth of trade between the two countries and advance new interconnection projects, he said.

One of the prominent changes over the past 50 years has been the rise of the Global South, Overchuk said while addressing a sub-forum titled “The Rise of the Global South.” Faced with increasing global uncertainty, countries from the Global South should strengthen cooperation and unite to meet challenges, he said.

Overchuk also pointed out Russia’s willingness to strengthen cooperation with countries in the Global South in the field of cross-border trade and transportation infrastructure construction, saying that Russia hopes to expand market access and push for the building of international transportation corridors.

“We are currently seeing signs of anti-globalization and rising trade fragmentation in global markets, which requires us to strengthen cooperation and connections with our neighboring countries,” said Overchuk.

2024 marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Russia. The determination of China and Russia to work together hand in hand is even stronger, the foundation of generational friendship is more solid, and the prospects for comprehensive cooperation are even broader, Zhang Hanhui, the Chinese Ambassador to Russia, said in an interview with Tass on March 21.