Friendship Pact: a New Stage in Sino-Russian Relations

Jiang Li

China and Russia signed The Treaty of Good-neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation and issued joint statement during Chinese President Jiang Zemin's state-visit to Russia from July 15-18. The new treaty is a "milestone" in Sino-Russian relations, providing both a legal and political basis for the two countries to develop stable bilateral relations in the new century.

The new treaty has far-reaching significance.

Sino-Russian relations have long been fruitful, benefiting the two countries and the two peoples and contributing to the world peace and security. To sum up valued experience into a legalized document will help instruct the future bilateral relations of the two countries.

The new treaty is the first new friendship treaty since the Sino-Soviet pact in 1950. The new treaty will set up a new-type of interstate relations, different from those agreed to in the 1950s. It is "not directed against any third country" nor does it impose any obligations to each other.

The only goal of the treaty is to enhance the strategic relations between China and Russia and to provide a basis for world peace and stability.

The two sides also agreed not to aim their strategic nuclear weapons at each other and said they would work to solve any dispute peacefully. "If a threat of aggression arises," the treaty states, the two sides "will immediately make contact with each other and hold consultations in order to eliminate the emerging threat."

The two countries also reaffirmed their faith in the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) and advocated the reduction of strategic offensive weapons according to the ABM treaty.

A multi-polar world is suggested in the treaty to help establish a fair and just new international order. The new treaty was described by Russian President Vladimir Putin as an instructive documents oriented to the "new era".

Chinese President Jiang Zemin said that the treaty will "enhance mutual trust politically, deepen traditional friendship of the two countries, enlarge bilateral cooperation, promote co-development, open up a new chapter for the Sino-Russian relations.”

The signing of the treaty is of landmark significance in China-Russian relations. The two countries will "remain friends forever and never become enemies," which conveys the wishes of the two peoples.

With the signing of the treaty, Sino-Russian relations have stepped into a new stage of all-around cooperation.

Politically, the Sino-Russian good-neighborly treaty of friendship and cooperation will put the strategic and synergic partnership between China and Russia into a more vigorous phase. The ideal of “good neighbor, good partner and good friend” has been accepted by the Russian administration and has become a common view of Russian people. A poll on June 21 indicated that 22.9 percent of Russians believe that China is the second “steady ally and partner” of Russia, next to Belarus. The friendly civil trust between two countries lays a solid foundation for the further development of the bilateral relations.

As far as security goes, a new type of inter-state relationship has been set up. This is not a military or political alliance and never aims at a third country or country group. A peaceful environment is vital for both China and Russia to implement their domestic reforms and economic development.

Sino-Russian good-neighborly and friendly relations are good for the peace and security of world and Asia-Pacific regions and will become crucial to maintain world peace and security. To strengthen this new type of international relations conforms to the essential interests of both countries’ people, and it is good for world and regional peace, stability and development and promotes the world multi-polarization process, and paves the way to the new international political and economic order of justice and rationality.

In economics, substantial progress is constantly being made between the two countries. The Sino-Russia trade volume in the first quarter hit US$3.1 billion or 51 percent higher than last year when it totaled US$8 billion. Both sides upgraded their military collaboration in stealth technology and super computers. Based on the achievement of the new treaty, the contact of the two countries’ premiers in the second half-year will hasten the step of Sino-Russia economic and trade cooperation.

The new treaty between China and Russia will lead to better international understanding.

Both countries are willing to strengthen their all-round cooperation on the model of non-alliances to meet the challenge of multi-polarization and economic globalization. In helping to establish a multi-polar world, China and Russia reached a common agreement. Both of them agree on the principle of a multi-polar world and oppose solar-polarlism and hegemonism to safeguard world peace and stability.

When meeting Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan this April, President Putin reiterated that promoting muti-polarlization would benefit a stable “international safety pattern.”

Not long ago, Putin emphasized again during a summit with his French counterpart that he will do his utmost to establish a multi-polar world.

In regard to missile defense, both Russia and China firmly advocate keeping the ABM treaty signed in 1972. Both oppose the National Missile Defense system as well as any other form which might harm the current international strategic stability.

As for democracy and human rights, both sides are against external interference. Russia and China are able to solve their own problems and do not need any outside help: as the Chechen issue is an internal affair of Russia, so Taiwan and Tibet are internal affairs of China.

Russia and China also will maintain close contact with and involvement in the United Nations. Currently some Western countries are trying to lessen the importance of the UN so as to weaken the influence of Russia and China in international affairs. Russia and China intend to fight back by working together to uphold the UN’s involvement in international security and to work to reform the UN from within.

In regional cooperation, Russia plans to improve its relations with the Commonwealth of Independent States while Jiang’s visit to the Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova will further promote China’s cooperation with this region. In Europe, recently, the relations between Russia and Europe have achieved overall progress, and China and Europe are also moving closer. In South Asia, Russia is furthering bilateral ties with India and modifying its relations with Pakistan. The relations between China and Pakistan are still strengthening, while Sino-Indian relations are also gradually improving.

In Northeast Asia, Russia and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) have resumed their relations, while China and the DPRK continue their good relations. Both China and Russia are working actively for peace on the Korean Peninsula. In addition, the two sides also share many common views on such sensitive issues as the Middle East, the Balkan Peninsula and Afghanistan.

On economic globalization, both countries maintain that a new international order of justice and rationality should be established, and both have actively participated in the process. At present, both countries are bidding for entrance into the World Trade Organization (WTO). China's rounds of negotiations are drawing to an end, and Russia’s are proceeding smoothly. Both countries share a common concern about how to protect their national interests after their entry into the WTO.

The signing of the new treaty means that China and Russia will push their bilateral cooperation further in both politics and trade. The two sides will carry out more collaboration in large projects, such as the transportation of oil, gas and electricity, the construction of nuclear power plants in east China and the cooperation in military technology. It is expected that the friendly and cooperative Sino-Russian relations can boost the common prosperity of the two countries in the new century and set a model for new international relations.

(The author is a research fellow with the Institute of Contemporary International Relations)

(CIIC 07/20/2001)

In This Series

Chinese, Russian Presidents Issue Joint Statement

US Sees no Threat From Russia, China Accord

New Russia-China Treaty Doesn't Mean Military Alliance: Putin

Commentary: Treaty Opens New Chapter for Sino-Russian Relations

ABM Treaty Stressed

Russia, China Sign First New Friendship Treaty in Half a Century

ABM Treaty Vital for Stability

Sino-Russia Peace Pact: a New Era

Jiang Arrives in Moscow to Kick off 5-Nation Tour

China, Russia Trade Surges

Landmark Treaty to Be Signed During Jiang's Visit to Russia: FM


Putin: Russia's China Policy Will not Change

Li Peng Stresses Strategic Partnership With Russia

Sino-Russian Border Trade Hustles and Bustles

Joint Statement by the Presidents of the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation on Anti-Missile Defense


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