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Russia and China boost ties
Russia and China boost ties
China is Russia’s most important neighbour, given its vast scale, the length of the common border, and China’s expected impact on Russia’s development, especially in eastern regions. The
Of course, all this does not mean that there are no difficulties in
Cooperation with China is extremely important for Russia in international terms. China shares Russia’s ideas on the future
Both Russia and China dismiss any advice on their internal political structure, seeing it as «interference in internal affairs», and support each other in their fight against separatism (Russia supports China on Taiwan, and China backs Russia on Chechnya). It is for this reason that both countries have campaigned over the past few years to preserve the principles of international law and UN’s status, coordinating their voting in the UN on key global problems and acting as allies in talks on Iran, South Korea, Kosovo and other global political problems.
China is Russia’s important strategic partner, and it is thanks to its ties with China (as well with other Asian nations) that Russia’s policy can become more multifaceted, finding its own voice and making Russia an important centre of global influence.
Those who want to see Russia as a more independent and powerful nation should support its ties with China. There is absolutely no talk of a military alliance, something neither China nor Russia want.
In economic terms, China is one of Russia’s crucial partners, especially in the development of Russia’s Siberia and Far East. China is also Russia’s important regional partner. As a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, together with Russia it helps solve common problems in Central Asia — fighting religious extremism and terrorism, supporting secular regimes in the region’s countries, and fostering their economic and social development.
Thus, cooperation with China strengthens Russia’s international standing as an independent power.
China is also interested in Russia as a geopolitical and economic partner, though Russia currently plays a much smaller role in China’s politics than China in Russia’s. Yet, for a number of reasons, China prefers to have a stable and strong (though, perhaps, not very strong) Russia. Beijing wants a stable Russia capable of becoming an independent centre of power, as a counterweight in China’s complex relations with the United States and Western Europe, as one of the guarantors of China’s independent foreign policy. Stability on the border with Russia, as well as those with other neighbours, is very important for China’s economic development and for achieving the main goal set by the country’s current leadership. Finally, Russia is an important provider of goods and raw materials that China cannot buy elsewhere (e.g. weapons) or which it has in insufficient quantities (e.g. oil, forest and other raw materials). It is for this reason that Beijing has been focusing on its border problems, migration and trade in recent years.
China wants Russia to be stable and economically developed, it is ready to help Russia develop its border areas, and does not comprehend Russia’s concerns about its intentions, combined with a failure to solve its own problems (such as boosting production, improving the investment climate, developing the Far East etc.).
Meanwhile, both Moscow and Beijing perfectly understand the importance of a constructive partnership with the West, which both countries need in order to strengthen their international standing, solve pressing global problems (including in the area of global
Thus, maintaining their constructive cooperation and avoiding the extremes of either enmity or a close alliance is in the best interests of both Russia and China.
Economic ties between Russia and China are developing rapidly, with trade volume topping $56 billion in 2008, making China Russia’s third biggest trade partner, though this is below the level of China’s trade with a number of other partners. Trade declined in 2009, but is expected to rise above the 2008 level. If this happens, a
All this does not mean that there are no problems in this sphere. Russia is concerned about its growing import/export ratio, declining equipment exports, and low levels of mutual investment. Some of these problems are already being actively addressed. Thus, the completion of a new oil pipeline from Russia to China, scheduled for this autumn, will allow Russia to double its oil exports to 30 million tonnes a year, becoming China’s largest provider of oil. During Vladimir Putin’s visit to China in October 2009, a programme of cooperation between the Far East and East Siberia in Russia and Northeast China in 2009–2018 was agreed upon and signed, involving significant investments in a number of projects in both countries. Nine of these are already being implemented in Russia.
There have been publications in China recently saying that the country must ensure its economic interests worldwide using its army and navy, even seeking to control global resources and their distribution. Officials and experts, however, dismiss this as private ideas expressed by certain citizens. At the same time, speaking informally, many admit that nationalist theories are indeed supported by certain parties in law enforcement.
Moscow is aware of this tendency, and, while not seeing it as Beijing’s official line, cannot ignore it. In this respect, Russia’s closer cooperation with other countries in Southeast Asia — Japan, South Korea and India, which share Russia’s concerns — takes on an added importance.
India could also be instrumental in promoting the democratisation of Central Asian countries, even if by simply sharing its own political experience with their public.
The BRIC group is an important forum for coordinating the interests of key
Pressing global issues, such as the reform of international institutions and global security problems, including energy security and climate change, should be included in the BRIC agenda. Particularly important in this respect is the challenge of overcoming the financial crisis. The BRIC agenda could also include a comparative analysis of development models for its member states, along with other
The development of
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