By Vladimir Putin
I am glad to seize this opportunity to address the friendly Chinese people in one of the largest and most authoritative world media in advance of the state visit of President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping to Russia. This landmark event reaffirms the special nature of the Russia-China partnership, which has always been built on mutual trust, respect for each other’s sovereignty and interests.
We have high expectations for the upcoming talks. We have no doubt that they will give a new powerful impetus to our bilateral cooperation in its entirety. This is also a great opportunity for me to meet with my good old friend with whom we enjoy the warmest relationship.
I made acquaintance with Comrade Xi Jinping in March 2010 when he visited Moscow as head of a high-level Chinese delegation. Our first meeting was held in a very business-like and at the same time sincere and friendly atmosphere. I really like this style of communication. I know that people in China attach great importance to friendship and personal relationships. It is no coincidence that Confucius the Sage said: “Is it not a joy to have friends coming from afar!” In Russia we share this value and hold real friends for brothers. Our two peoples have very much in common here.
Three years later, about the same days in March, we met again in the capital of Russia. It was Xi Jinping’s first state visit to our country after his election as President of the People’s Republic of China. The summit set the tone and dynamics of Russia-China relations for many years to come, became clear evidence of the special nature of relations between Russia and China, and outlined the trajectory for their accelerated and sustainable development.
Since then, a decade has passed, which is but a fleeting moment in the history of our countries sharing a centuries-old tradition of good neighborliness and cooperation. During this time, the world has seen many changes, often not for the better. Yet the main thing has remained unchanged: I am talking of the firm friendship between Russia and China, which is consistently growing stronger for the benefit and in the interest of our countries and peoples. The progress made in the development of bilateral ties is impressive. The Russia-China relations have reached the highest level in their history and are gaining even more strength; they surpass Cold War-time military-political alliances in their quality, with no one to constantly order and no one to constantly obey, without limitations or taboos. We have reached an unprecedented level of trust in our political dialogue; our strategic cooperation has become truly comprehensive in nature and is standing on the brink of a new era. President Xi Jinping and I have met about 40 times and have always found time and opportunity to talk in a variety of official formats as well as at no‑tie events.
Our priorities include trade and economic partnership. In 2022, our bilateral trade, which had already been considerable by the time, doubled to reach USD 185 billion. This is a new record. What is more, we have every reason to believe that the USD 200 billion target, which was set by President Xi Jinping and myself, will be exceeded as early as this year instead of 2024. It is noteworthy that the share of settlements in national currencies in our mutual trade is growing, further strengthening the sovereignty of our relations.
Long-term joint plans and programs are being successfully implemented. It will be no exaggeration to say that the Power of Siberia Russian-Chinese gas pipeline has become the “deal of the century” for its scale. The supplies of Russian oil and coal have increased significantly. Our specialists are involved in building new nuclear power units in China, while Chinese companies actively engage in LNG projects; our industrial and agricultural cooperation is growing stronger. Together we explore outer space and develop new technologies.
Russia and China are powers with ancient and unique traditions and an enormous cultural heritage. Now that all pandemic-related restrictions on mutual contacts have been lifted, it is important that we increase humanitarian and tourist exchanges as soon as possible, thereby strengthening the social basis of the Russian-Chinese partnership. Interstate thematic years have a special role to play in this context. For example, the 2022/2023 biennium is dedicated to cooperation in the field of physical culture and sports, which is very popular among our citizens.
Unlike some countries claiming hegemony and bringing discord to the global harmony, Russia and China are literally and figuratively building bridges. Last year our border regions were connected by two new bridge crossings over the Amur river, which has been a “river of friendship” since time immemorial. Amidst the “waves and winds” that sweep the planet, we closely cooperate in international affairs and effectively coordinate our foreign policy positions, counter common threats, and respond to current challenges, standing shoulder to shoulder as a “rock amid a fast-flowing stream.” We actively promote democratic multilateral structures such as the SCO and BRICS, which become more and more authoritative and influential and attract new partners and friends. The work aimed at coordinating the development of the Eurasian Economic Union with the One Belt, One Road Initiative also goes in this vein.
Our countries, together with like-minded actors, have consistently advocated the shaping of a more just multipolar world order based on international law rather than certain “rules” serving the needs of the “golden billion.” Russia and China have consistently worked to create an equitable, open and inclusive regional and global security system that is not directed against third countries. In this regard, we note the constructive role of China’s Global Security Initiative, which is in line with the Russian approaches in this area.
We can feel the geopolitical landscape in the outside world change dramatically. Sticking more stubbornly than ever to its obsolete dogmata and vanishing dominance, the “Collective West” is gambling on the fates of entire states and peoples. The US’s policy of simultaneously deterring Russia and China, as well as all those who do not bend to the American dictation, is getting ever fiercer and more aggressive. The international security and cooperation architecture is being dismantled. Russia has been labelled an “immediate threat” and China a “strategic competitor.”
We appreciate the well-balanced stance on the events in Ukraine adopted by the PRC, as well as its understanding of their historical background and root causes. We welcome China’s readiness to make a meaningful contribution to the settlement of the crisis. Like our friends in China, we advocate for the strict compliance with the UN Charter, respect for the norms of international law, including humanitarian law. We are committed to the principle of the indivisibility of security, which is being grossly violated by the NATO bloc. We are deeply concerned over the irresponsible and outright dangerous actions that jeopardize nuclear security. We reject illegitimate unilateral sanctions, which must be lifted.
Russia is open to the political and diplomatic resolution of the Ukraine crisis. It was not Russia who broke off the peace talks back in April 2022. The future of the peace process depends solely on the will to engage in a meaningful discussion taking into account current geopolitical realities. Unfortunately, the ultimatum nature of requirements placed on Russia shows that their authors are detached from these realities and lack interest in finding a solution to the situation.
The crisis in Ukraine, which was provoked and is being diligently fueled by the West, is the most striking, yet not the only, manifestation of its desire to retain its international dominance and preserve the unipolar world order. It is crystal clear that NATO is striving for a global reach of activities and seeking to penetrate the Asia-Pacific. It obvious that there are forces persistently working to split the common Eurasian space into a network of ”exclusive clubs“ and military blocs that would serve to contain our countries’ development and harm their interests. This won’t work.
In fact, today, the Russia-China relations serve as the cornerstone of regional and global stability, driving the economic growth and securing the positive agenda in international affairs. They provide an example of harmonious and constructive cooperation between major powers.
I am convinced that our friendship and partnership based on the strategic choice of the peoples of the two countries will further grow and gain strength for the well-being and prosperity of Russia and China. This visit of the President of the PRC to Russia will undoubtedly contribute to that.