Sino-Russia Peace Pact: a New Era

China and Russia yesterday signed a treaty that legalizes "the peaceful philosophy" for lasting friendship between the two neighbouring countries.

The Treaty of Good-neighbourliness and Friendly Co-operation describes a non-allied Sino-Russian relationship that avoids antagonizing other countries.

The two nations agreed in the 25-article treaty to base their relations on the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence and pledged to develop the strategic partnership of co-ordination characterized by good-neighbourliness, co-operation, equality and trust.

Jiang hailed the treaty during his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin before the signing.

The treaty "completely discards the Cold War mentality that inter-state relations could only be ones of alliance or antagonism", he said.

The treaty reflects a new type of nation-to-nation relations that seek security through trust and co-operation, Jiang was quoted as saying by a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman.

Highlighting the guiding role of the treaty in Sino-Russian relations in the 21st century, Jiang told the press after the signing ceremony that it provides an example for new inter-state relations.

"The treaty is first of all about bilateral relations between China and Russia, but it will become an important element in establishing new international relations," Putin told the press.

According to the treaty, China and Russia will not resort to force in any disputes. The nations will enhance co-operation in the military field, but said this would not target a third country.

China and Russia pledged to join hands in safeguarding the global strategic balance and promoting adherence to the basic agreements in this field.

The two neighbouring countries also pledged to further co-operate in all fields in the international arena. Sino-Russian relations have developed over the last decade from recognizing each other as friendly countries in 1992 to a constructive partnership in 1994 and finally a strategic partnership of co-ordination in 1996.

"From our point of view, the signing of the treaty will mean the start of a new stage in more predictable and balanced relations with China," said Russian Ambassador to China Igor Rogachev.

"The signing of the treaty is the result of stable developing relations between the two countries."

"The treaty has reflected the practical national interests of China and Russia and foreign policies based on national interests," said Li Jingjie, expert on Russian studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Describing the treaty as a "milestone" in Sino-Russian relations, Li said the treaty will contribute to long-term good-neighbourly relations between China and Russia, and therefore be conducive to peace and security in the world.

(China Daily HK Edition 07/17/2001)

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