The Presidents of Russia and China, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, met in Beijing on Saturday, and issued three major statements of great import regarding their relationship and the world strategic situation. This is Putin’s 15th visit to Beijing, and his opening comments to Xi before their meeting underscored the depth of the two countries’ alliance: “We meet often and on a regular basis, but … each of our meetings is always substantive in nature…. Life itself demands that our peoples work to strengthen and develop our relations.”
President Xi, for his part, commented after their meeting: “The more difficult the international situation gets, the more decisively we must be guided by the spirit of the strategic cooperation, friendship; we should enhance bilateral support, strengthen political and strategic cooperation, deepen our relations.”
The first, rather lengthy joint statement that they issued stresses the importance of their relationship as a model of a “major power relationship” which they consider the model to be followed in what has now become a multi-polar world. The document also goes on to emphasize the significance of their model of relationship, including its respect for each nation’s particular road of development and the doctrine of non-interference in the internal affairs of the other, as a new model for interactions in a world characterized by conflict. The document also underlines their increased cooperation in the “nuclear arena” as well as in the area of space, including cooperation in lunar exploration. It also underlines the complementarity of the two nations’ development projects, in particular between the development of the Russian Far East and of the Chinese northeastern provinces bordering Russia, as well as complementarity between the development of the Russia’s Volga region and the Yangtze Development Zone. It further stresses the importance of their relationship for stability in the world arena.
The main document highlights the new volatility on the financial markets, aggravated by the “unilateral sanctions” imposed by certain countries. It also throws down the gauntlet to the hegemonic aspirations of “certain countries” and “certain military alliances” which threaten the world’s stability by their aspiration to maintain unilateral military superiority at the expense of other countries’ ability to defend themselves. It hearkens back to the original intent of the United Nations to prevent war and establish an international system of law to which all countries should adhere.
China and Russia also affirmed their intention to work together at the UN to prevent unlawful and unauthorized military interventions that are not under a UN mandate. The document points to the importance of the BRICS group as well as the function of the ASEAN and ASEAN-plus groupings for the global economy.
The two issued a second, specific statement regarding the global threats created by “certain countries” pushing to increase military tensions in the world. The document denounces the destabilizing nature of the missile defense plans in Europe, as well as the envisioned THAAD deployment in the Asia-Pacific.
A third agreement was signed on cooperation on cyber-security.
Additionally, over 30 economic agreements were signed during Putin’s visit, particularly in the sphere of energy, agriculture, transportation, aerospace and military technical cooperation.
In addition to the direct dialogue between the Russian and Chinese Presidents, their summit included talks in “expanded format” that involved dozens of cabinet ministers, their deputies, and businessmen on both sides, that featured the signing of over 30 economic agreements between the two countries.
President Putin told Chinese Premier Li Keqiang: “Our relationship really is one of comprehensive strategic partnership. Our ties are developing in many different areas and continue to make successful progress, opening up good prospects for the future…. The economy is at the foundation of our countries’ ties and we are doing much indeed to strengthen this foundation.” Putin added that this “is not always easy,” but that both sides are intent on “striking a balance of interests. However, we always build our relations on a consideration of each other’s interests, and we are successful in this.”
At a reception following the meetings, Putin remarked: “While building the Russian-Chinese partnership, we relied on traditions of centuries-old relations between our states. The unprecedented level of mutual respect and understanding we reached allowed us to solve complex and rather sensitive issues that we inherited from the past. Most important, it opened possibilities for moving forward for establishing multilateral ties in various spheres,” TASS reported.
Among the 30 economic agreements signed were:
- On financing of the 770-km Moscow-Kazan high-speed rail line, which will eventually be extended all the way to Beijing.
- The signing by Russian Railways and China Railway of a comprehensive strategic cooperation accord, including the localization of the manufacturing of rolling stock in Russia.
- On financing an LNG facility on the Yamal Peninsula in Russia’s Far North.
- On the building of a grain terminal in the southern Baikal region for increased shipment of Russian wheat to China.
- On the sale of Russian RD-180 rocket engines to China, as well as cooperation on the construction of wide-bodied aircraft and heavy civilian helicopters.
- An agreement between the central banks of China and Russia in the form of a memorandum of understanding on setting up a yuan clearing mechanism in Russia.
The 16th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, which concluded Saturday, included intense discussion among the members, and in many bilateral meetings, on the positive role the SCO can play going forward, both in terms of economic development and security coordination. President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping provided crucial input in all the discussions.
The SCO welcomed two new members, India and Pakistan, and Syria, Egypt and Israel are also interested in joining. This summit did not approve Iran’s membership, but that is expected to happen in the not-too-distant future.
As President Putin pointed out in his speech to the SCO’s Council of Heads of State expanded session, there are now 18 countries which take part in the SCO’s work: six founding members, six observer states, and six dialogue partners. Together, these account of more than 16% of global GDP, and 45% of the world’s population. “Among our most significant education projects,” he pointed out, is the SCO University, which links 80 universities from participating countries into a single educational network.
Putin also stressed that “ensuring security throughout the SCO area” is a top priority, and that efforts must be made to develop the potential of a “regional anti-terrorist structure.” It is crucial, he said, to accelerate work on drafting the SCO convention on combating extremism.
He also proposed that talks start on linking the Eurasian Union and China’s Silk Road Economics Belt, a point that Xi Jinping made in his own speech. “I am sure,” Putin said, “that involving all of the SCO member states and the CIS countries in this integration process will pave the way for developing a broad Eurasian partnership.” New financial institutions, such as the BRICS New Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Eurasian Bank, will help ensure “successful implementation of multilateral economic projects within the SCO framework.”
In his meeting with Putin, Xi pointed out that this year marks the 15th anniversary of the China-Russia good-neighborly treaty of friendship and cooperation and the 20th anniversary of the two countries’ strategic partnership of coordination. Thus, he said, Putin’s visit to Beijing is of special significance. China, he underscored, is willing to join hands with Russia to “carry forward their friendship from generation to generation, consolidate political and strategic mutual trust, and strengthen support for each other.” China is ready to work together with Russia, Xi emphasized, to play a positive role in the SCO’s “steady and healthy development.”
At the end of its two-day summit in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) produced its final Tashkent Declaration, touching on a number of strategically and economically-important issues. Uzbekistan’s 24.ky news agency noted that to counter the slowdown in economic growth, the SCO one of the best strategies is the “implementation of long-term, mutually beneficial projects, in the priority areas of cooperation and infrastructure development.” The SCO leaders backed China’s Silk Road Economic Belt initiative, stating they would act to implement it to promote regional cooperation.
As reported by Sputnik yesterday, the Declaration pointed out that the
Directly addressing the Obama administration’s provocative positioning of a ballistic missile defense system in Europe, the Declaration adds that member states
Special reference was made to protecting the “unity, sovereignty, territorial integrity and stability of Syria,” stressing that there is no alternative to a political solution to the crisis, the Iranian news agency FNA reported today.
Addressing the issue of disputes in the South China Sea, the Declaration states that the SCO countries support international law, according to provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, AKI press reported.