China-Russia coordination more valuable amid noise

Illustration: Liu Xidan/GT

Illustration: Liu Xidan/GT

Just before Russian President Vladimir Putin’s state visit to China in his new term, the Carnegie Center published an article interpreting China’s deepening cooperation with Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries as China “stealing” Russia’s influence. This kind of propaganda masks the reality that more and more countries, such as Serbia and Hungary, are unwilling to align with the West. This is just a new version of sowing discord between China and Russia, using the falsehood of “China snatching Russia’s partners” to provoke tensions between China and Russia.

First of all, this rhetoric diminishes the status of CEE countries. 

We definitely do not agree with the worldview of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “If you’re not at the table in the international system, you’re going to be on the menu.” CEE countries are not delicious dishes for great powers to enjoy. Countries, regardless of size, have the right to choose their own partners and their own paths. CEE countries have never been willing to be mere pawns in the game of great powers, at least not Serbia or Hungary. After the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict in 2022, faced with pressure from the Western camp, they did not choose to side with Ukraine and the West, nor did they cut off cooperation with Russia. In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban is seen as being against providing assistance to Ukraine and escalating the conflict within NATO and the EU. Despite the demonization of China in the US for the presidential election, Serbia, Hungary, and even France, still see that cooperation with China greatly serves their national interests and well-being. They are willing to receive China at a high level and open their markets to China’s industrial chain. 

Why don’t Serbia and Hungary align with Europe? Perhaps it is not just because Serbia and Hungary are unwilling to be manipulated by great powers. More importantly, Europe has not been able to provide them with what they expect. The murky political correctness atmosphere in Europe is not what they need. And the manufacturing industry supply chain they need is not something that Europe, which has long been immersed in the non-real economy, can offer. Serbia, Hungary and other countries are seeing the downward trend in Europe and choosing a distant partner over aligning with their neighbors. Isn’t this the tragedy of Europe?

Furthermore, no matter how the West tries to sow discord, it will not change the overall trend of a stable and healthy development of China-Russia relations. From the idea that China-Russia relations are a “marriage of convenience” to Tucker Carlson’s question of whether Russia is worried about China dominating the BRICS organization economically, these narratives are dismissed by President Putin as “bogeyman stories.” China and Russia are both well aware of the Western agenda to sow discord between them and are increasingly reluctant to respond.

The facts prove that China-Russia relations have not been affected by Western noise. During President Putin’s visit to China, the leaders of China and Russia jointly signed and issued a joint statement on deepening the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. By carrying out cooperation for the benefit of both countries and their peoples, this is the fundamental driving force of China-Russia relations. During President Putin’s visit to China, China and Russia signed multiple bilateral cooperation agreements, which will further promote the development of the bilateral relationship.

Isn’t it clear to Western elites that this kind of sowing discord is meaningless? They must know that they are powerless in the face of the stable relationship between China and Russia and can only resort to creating noise out of frustration. The more intense the Western attacks on China-Russia relations, the more they demonstrate the contemporary significance of this relationship. During the period of high-level cooperation between China and Russia, we witnessed that the Western forces led by NATO cannot replicate what they did in former Yugoslavia and Iraq, nor can they abuse mechanisms such as the UN Security Council to bully weaker countries. Therefore, calling China-Russia relations a key factor in maintaining the contemporary international order is reasonable, as the stability of this relationship ensures that the West adheres to the rules they themselves created.

We cannot stop the West from constantly creating new versions of provocative rhetoric, but the West’s provocations make us more aware of the value of maintaining China-Russia relations.

The author is a scholar from the Shanghai-based China National Institute for SCO International Exchange and Judicial Cooperation. [email protected]

Rich connotation of China-Russia cooperation will continue to be enriched: Global Times editorial

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin sign and issue a joint statement on deepening China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries after their talks in Beijing, capital of China, May 16, 2024. Xi held talks with Putin, who is in China on a state visit, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Thursday.Photo: Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin sign and issue a joint statement on deepening China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries after their talks in Beijing, capital of China, May 16, 2024. Xi held talks with Putin, who is in China on a state visit, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Thursday.Photo: Xinhua

Russian President Vladimir Putin concluded a two-day state visit to China. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs described President Putin’s visit as “importantly timed and fruitful.” The two heads of state signed and issued a joint statement on deepening China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries (hereinafter referred to as the joint statement). The joint statement is over 12,000 words long, with the word “cooperation” appearing over 130 times.

Currently, China-Russia relations are at their best in history, and this year marks a milestone in the development of relations between the two countries. Looking back, pragmatic cooperation between China and Russia has a solid foundation and strong internal impetus, ensuring economic and social common development and integration of both countries. Looking forward, pragmatic cooperation between China and Russia is an important guarantee for tapping the development potential of both sides and exploring long-term autonomous development. Clearly, the development of relations between the two countries is not a temporary expedient but has strong internal impetus and intrinsic value.

The rich connotation of China-Russia cooperation will continue to be enriched and elevated, and this is highly certain. For example, in terms of economic and trade cooperation, the trade of traditional labor-intensive, low-value-added electromechanical products used to be the mainstream of China-Russia economic and trade cooperation. However, in recent years, high-value-added products represented by automobiles and engineering machinery have developed rapidly. In 2023, Russia became the top destination for Chinese automobile exports, with over 900,000 vehicles exported to Russia. Additionally, many Chinese brands of mobile phones, home appliances, engineering machinery and other products are gaining increasing recognition and popularity in the Russian market. With their high quality, durability, and cost-effectiveness, they are increasingly favored by Russian consumers.

Based on mutual benefit, China and Russia continue to advance practical cooperation, benefiting the people of both countries. Maintaining a solid foundation in traditional areas such as economic and trade, energy, and agriculture is an important basis for maintaining good momentum in cooperation. Cooperation projects in these areas are also important starting points for deepening future development. For example, in agriculture, China and Russia have highly complementary advantages. If the coordination efforts in standards certification, technical specifications, and other areas of bilateral agricultural product trade continue to increase, it will lay the foundation for the development of the China-Russia agricultural cooperation experimental demonstration zone proposed in the joint statement.

At the same time, new areas such as artificial intelligence, high-tech, and basic research are also realistic choices for cooperation between the two sides. Especially in the context of the continuous impact of anti-globalization trends such as “decoupling” and “small yard, high fence,” deepening practical cooperation in the new era between China and Russia will help counter external obstacles and restrictions on the technological development space of both countries, ensuring the high-level development of technology on both sides. More importantly, unleashing the potential for cooperation in cutting-edge areas will help both countries grasp the future development trend. Therefore, the strategic cooperation between China and Russia is a proactive effort rather than a passive response.

In particular, with the deepening of the new round of technological revolution and industrial transformation, international cutting-edge technological development presents the characteristics of multiple breakthroughs and intersections in various fields. China’s technology and industry are rapidly upgrading, with the obvious feature of the “engineer dividend,” and the scale and intensity of basic research and development investment are continuously increasing. In the international cutting-edge technological competition, China is gradually shifting from “following” to “keeping pace” and even “leading” in some areas. This means that through cooperation with Russia in new fields, bilateral technological mutual benefit development can be effectively promoted, helping Chinese technology research and development expand into more application scenarios, benefiting both sides’ enterprises and people, promoting bilateral and even regional technological standards and norms interoperability, and jointly catching up with or even leading the future trend of cutting-edge development.

The current period is an important window for practical economic and trade cooperation between China and Russia, and the two sides’ connections in politics, economy, technology, and culture will continue to be strengthened. This will not only help promote bilateral economic development and stimulate growth potential, but also promote regional peace, stability, and prosperity, sharing the dividends of each other’s development, gradually realizing global economic recovery and development, and making greater contributions to promoting inclusive and beneficial economic globalization. As President Xi Jinping said, steady development of China-Russia relations is not only in the fundamental interests of the two countries and the two peoples, but also conducive to peace, stability and prosperity of the region and the world at large.

World famous ballerina takes to the stage in Shanghai

Svetlana Zakharova in 
Gabrielle Chanel. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Svetlana Zakharova, one of the most celebrated ballerinas in the world, is in Shanghai. She is joining hands with the star dancers of Russia’s esteemed Bolshoi Theatre and presenting four performances at the Shanghai Grand Theatre from May 15 to 19.

On May 16, the Bolshoi prima ballerina and her colleagues will present Modanse, which consists of two parts: a one-act dance drama Come Un Respiro, choreographed by Mauro Bigonzetti, and Gabrielle Chanel, a dance drama about the life story of the fashion icon. Zakharova wears the trademark outfits of Chanel and presents her journey from a cabaret performer to the legendary fashion designer, highlighting her close ties to Russian ballet and her love story with Arthur Edward “Boy” Capel.

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.

China, Russia create a new paradigm of major-country relations

The Temple of Heaven in Beijing (left) and Moscow Kremlin's Spasskaya Tower. Photos: VCG

The Temple of Heaven in Beijing (left) and Moscow Kremlin’s Spasskaya Tower. Photos: VCG

Editor’s Note:

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Russia. Before Russian President Vladimir Putin’s state visit to China scheduled from May 16 to 17, Global Times reporter
(GT) Xia Wenxin, Yang Sheng and Yang Ruoyu exclusively spoke with the Chinese Ambassador to Russia Zhang Hanhui
(Zhang) on the development of the relationship between the two countries, the Ukraine crisis and China-Russia cultural exchanges, among other topics.

GT: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin was formally sworn in on May 7 and chose China as the destination of his first foreign trip after his inauguration. What are your expectations for President Putin’s visit to China? This year is the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Russia, what new opportunities will the future development of China-Russia relations bring to the two countries?


Zhang: Under the strategic guidance of President Xi Jinping and President Putin, the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era between China and Russia is currently in its best historical period. Not long ago, President Xi sent a congratulatory message to President Putin when the latter was re-elected, highlighting the close friendship and political mutual trust between the leaders of the two countries.

China and Russia are both major powers and permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and adhere to the principle of non-alliance, non-confrontation and non-targeting of any third party. They continue to deepen their friendly relations and strategic cooperation to create a new paradigm of major-country relations that is completely different from the Cold War era. Over the past 75 years of diplomatic relations, the political mutual trust between the two countries has continued to deepen, and the results of mutually beneficial cooperation have been fruitful, with increasing people-to-people exchanges and close international cooperation. 

Last year, the trade volume between China and Russia reached a historic high of over $240 billion, with “Made in China” products becoming increasingly popular and trusted by Russian consumers. Meanwhile, Russian agricultural and seafood products are selling well in China, fully demonstrating the strong resilience and broad prospects of mutual cooperation between the two countries. Maintaining and developing the relationship between China and Russia meets the common expectations of the two peoples and is in line with the trend of global development, with important implications for maintaining global strategic stability and promoting positive interactions among major countries. 

As this year marks the 75th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations, China and Russia will further strengthen strategic cooperation, cultivate new momentum for cooperation and help each other achieve development and revitalization. The two countries will also continue to enhance international multilateral cooperation, practice true multilateralism and make contributions to the security and stability of both countries and the world.

GT: Switzerland will host a high-level international conference in June to discuss the Russia-Ukraine crisis, but Russia said it is not invited. Do you think it’s overly optimistic to expect a cease-fire in the current conflict to be reached? What are the biggest obstacles to reaching an agreement? Some voices in the West believe that Russia’s strategic partnership with China is the source of confidence for Russia to continue this conflict. What is your take on this?

 

Zhang: In regard to the Ukraine crisis, China has always adhered to an objective and just position, always standing on the side of peace and dialogue, actively advocating for peace and promoting talks. President Xi has put forward four principles, called for joint efforts in four areas and shared three observations on Ukraine which outline China’s fundamental approach to the issue.

Unfortunately, there is still no sign of a cease-fire in the current crisis, and the conflict is still escalating and expanding. The parties involved are not willing to budge on their positions, with significant differences in understanding. Some external forces are still adding fuel to the fire and fanning the flames. 

History has proven that the end point of any conflict is the negotiating table. China supports the timely convening of an international conference recognized by both Russia and Ukraine, with equal participation of all parties and fair discussion of all peace proposals. China is willing to continue to play its unique role and contribute Chinese wisdom and strength to promote a political solution to the Ukraine crisis.

The China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era has never targeted any third party, nor does it tolerate any third party interference or coercion. China is neither the creator of the Ukraine crisis nor a party to it. China firmly rejects groundless accusations over the normal trade and economic exchanges between China and Russia, under excuses of the Ukraine crisis. We will firmly defend the legitimate rights and interests of our enterprises. At the same time, we advise relevant countries to stop shifting blame on China and make real efforts to politically resolve the Ukraine crisis.

Zhang Hanhui. Photo: Courtesy of Chinese Embassy in Russia

Zhang Hanhui. Photo: Courtesy of Chinese Embassy in Russia

GT: Over the past two years, the US and some Western countries have imposed sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction on Russia. What impacts do these measures have on foreign companies operating in Russia, including Chinese companies?

Zhang: China opposes any form of unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction that have no basis in international law. Implementing economic sanctions not only fails to solve security issues, but also harms the normal lives of the people in the relevant countries, disrupts the global market and worsens the already slowing world economy. 

China and Russia are natural partners with a strong vitality and broad prospects for cooperation. China firmly opposes illegal unilateral sanctions against Chinese companies and will take necessary measures to firmly defend the legitimate trade interests and rights of Chinese companies and steadily promote cooperation in various fields between China and Russia to benefit the people of both countries.

GT: The 2024 BRICS Summit is scheduled to be held in Russia in later half of this year , marking the first summit since the expansion of the bloc. What are your expectations for the future development of the BRICS mechanism? Meanwhile, China is the rotating chair of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) this year, and China and Russia will work together to illuminate the “Southern Moment” of global governance. How do you think both sides will promote the multipolarization of the world order?

Zhang: The collective rise of emerging market countries and developing countries, represented by BRICS and the SCO, is fundamentally changing the international landscape. As leaders of the Global South, BRICS and the SCO have expanded successively, once again demonstrating the strong vitality of the two organizations and reflecting the increasing influence of the Global South in global governance. 

Russia undertakes chairmanship of BRICS this year, and China supports Russia in hosting the first summit after the expansion of the BRICS mechanism. China is willing to work with Russia to deepen cooperation in various fields among new and old member countries, lead the BRICS mechanism steadily forward, and further taking on the role building a better world through BRICS. China will be the rotating chair of the SCO in the second half of this year, and China supports Kazakhstan in hosting this year’s SCO summit. China is willing to work with all parties to continue to promote the “Shanghai Spirit,” solidly implement the summit outcomes, promote cooperation in various fields and build a closer SCO community of shared future.

Unlike some countries that form small cliques and groups with a cold war mentality, the BRICS countries and members of the SCO have always adhered to the principle of win-win cooperation, insisting on dialogue instead of confrontation, partnership instead of alliance, and handshake instead of fist. 

They have become a model for building a new type of international relations and practicing true multilateralism, and are a strong force against hegemonism and for promoting world multipolarity. China will continue to work with all countries, including Russia, to deepen and solidify cooperation within BRICS and the SCO, injecting BRICS-style dynamic and SCO’s contribution to the establishment of a just and reasonable new international political and economic order.

GT: This year is also the “China-Russia Year of Culture.” What role do you think cultural exchanges between China and Russia play in their relationship? How do the Russian people perceive Chinese culture? Could you introduce some of the activities that China will hold this year to promote cultural exchanges between China and Russia?

Zhang: In October last year, Xi and Putin agreed to take the 2024-2025 China-Russia years of culture as an opportunity to carry out more diverse cultural activities. Cultural exchange is the bridge for the people of China and Russia to learn from each other and understand each other.

In recent years, we have held many exciting Chinese cultural activities in Russia, which have greatly aroused the strong interest of the Russian people in Chinese culture, effectively promoting mutual understanding between the two countries and deepening the traditional friendship between China and Russia. At the same time, with the continuous promotion of visa-free travel between the two countries, more and more Russians are traveling to China. We believe that Russian friends will be able to experience the real China and fall in love with the diverse Eastern culture during their travels.

Within the framework of the China-Russia Years of Culture, we will organize a variety of rich and colorful exchange of activities, including exhibitions of cultural relics, film screenings, stage art performances, youth cultural and creative exchanges, and exchanges between Chinese and Russian writers. This goal is to achieve a multi-channel, multi-level and all-round development of China-Russia cultural exchanges. Through cultural exchanges, we will continue to promote bilateral cultural exchanges, deepen mutual understanding between the two peoples, strengthen the foundation of friendly sentiments between the two countries and make new contributions to the deepening development of China-Russia relations.

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.

NATO members likely to be more divided on supporting Ukraine as crisis drags on: expert

Europe deeply split on warmongering NATO Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Europe deeply split on warmongering NATO Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

As the Russia-Ukraine conflict drags on, NATO members appear to be more and more divided over military aid to Ukraine, as Chinese analysts said on Sunday that since the beginning of April, more and more European countries are calling for negotiations to solve the crisis.

Extending support and aid to Ukraine was a contentious topic among NATO member countries during a two-day meeting on Wednesday and Thursday at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. One day earlier, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg had proposed a 100-billion-euro, five-year package of military aid to Ukraine, which was supported by only the UK, Poland and Latvia, media reported on Friday.

Even Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has changed his condition for negotiation with Russia, as he has indicated that a return to Ukraine’s 1991 borders is no longer a precondition for holding peace talks with Moscow, while he continues to push forward with his own “peace formula” which has been dismissed by Moscow, media reported on March 30.

This makes many NATO and EU members dare to be more outspoken on the sensitive topic about Ukraine, experts noted. 

The Hungarian foreign ministry on Wednesday cited Minister of Foreign Affairs Peter Szijjarto as telling a press conference during a break in a NATO foreign ministers’ council meeting that the government’s main goal was to protect Hungary from the war in Ukraine, as reported by The Budapest Times. As a result, it considers NATO’s former decision very important under which the organization is not part of the armed conflict and would do everything to avoid a direct confrontation with Russia, he noted.

The top Hungarian diplomat welcomed the fact that all previous proposals within NATO had respected these red lines and warned that the latest proposal would bring the organization closer to war. When the proposal was discussed, Hungary asked the other member states to consider that coordination of military support had been done so far without the involvement of the alliance he said.

Cui Heng, a scholar from the Shanghai-based China National Institute for SCO International Exchange and Judicial Cooperation, told the Global Times on Sunday that Hungary has always opposed NATO and the EU’s approaches to deal with Russia. “Hungary heavily relies on Russia’s cheap energy supplies, and Hungary also has disputes and competition on agricultural products with Ukraine.”

In the future, more NATO and EU members will choose similar policies as Hungary. If Russia achieves more military breakthroughs and Ukraine keeps losing territory and cannot achieve a meaningful victory, more and more of them will stand closer to Budapest’s stance, experts noted. 

Many NATO and EU members rely on Russia’s energy supplies, such as Hungary, Slovakia, Turkey and Greece, and major European countries like France and Italy who have nuclear power plants that rely on uranium enrichment from Russia and Kazakhstan, are also sharing similar views to engage Russia more pragmatically and stop the loss of supplying Ukraine with money and weapons, Cui noted.

And countries like Hungary, Slovakia and Bulgaria, which have competition with Ukraine on agricultural products, are also likely to join the group to oppose NATO’s policy that could extend the conflict, experts said. 

“These countries used to be silent when supporting Ukraine was absolute political correctness, but now, Washington and Kiev are all showing the intention to seek a way out, and then these other countries dare to express their opposition more frankly,” Cui said.

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.