The new treaty on Russian-Chinese good neighborliness, friendship and cooperation signed Monday here is not a basis for creating a bilateral military alliance, but a fundamental legal pact to guide the development of political and economic cooperation, said Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"We (Russian and China) do not seek to set up any military alliance...This should not be regarded as any form of response to a possible U.S. withdrawal from the 1972 ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) treaty," Putin said in an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on the coming Group of Eight summit in Genoa later this week.
China backs Russia's stand on the ABM issue, he said. However, nuclear potentials of China and Russia are incomparable. "A U.S. withdrawal from the ABM treaty, if it takes place, will not affect us much," Putin stressed in the interview, published and cited by Russian media Monday.
"China's nuclear potential is considerably less than ours, and they independently determine their nuclear policy," he added.
The president noted that the two countries have thousands of kilometers of the common border, and that China is the nearest and very big neighbor of Russia.
So, the new treaty is aimed at founding a basis for developing bilateral economic relations as well as the cooperation in other fields, he emphasized.
(People’s Daily 07/17/2001)