In July 2001 in Moscow, Chinese President Jiang Zemin and Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the Sino-Russian Good-Neighborly Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation. This came as a natural development of increasingly good Sino-Russian relations over the previous decade. The Treaty represents a milestone in the road of friendship between the two countries.
Thanks to the joint efforts of the Presidents of both states, Sino-Russian relations have moved forward in stages since the establishment of diplomatic relations. First came mutual recognition as friendly countries, this then progressed to a constructive partnership and finally into a strategic cooperative partnership. This is a Treaty of its times. It carefully reviews, consolidates and then builds on the fruits of a decade of good bilateral relations and of cooperation in an increasing number of areas. It lays down guidelines for a rapid, healthy and sustained development in Sino-Russian relations and points the way to the future.
It definitively establishes Sino-Russian relations as a strategic partnership of cooperation characterized by equality and trust. The Treaty highlights the extensive common interests of the two countries both in their bilateral relations and in their international affairs. It places the concept of peace in a legal framework within which China and Russia will always treat each other as friends and never as enemies.
Its aim is the development of long-term and sustained good-neighborliness characterized by friendship and cooperation. It seeks these mutual benefits alone and is not an alliance. It is non-confrontational and is not directed towards any third country. The signing of the Treaty marked the beginning of a new phase in the development of Sino-Russian relations in a strategic partnership of cooperation.
Cooperation between China and Russia has prospered in a number of fields under the influence of the Treaty. A new momentum not often seen in the affairs of states is gathering pace. It is fourfold.
Firstly, political trust between the two countries continues to grow. President Jiang Zemin and President Vladimir Putin share a deep personal friendship and have kept in frequent contact.
On June 6, 2002, the two presidents met again and held fruitful talks in the course of the second summit meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in St. Petersburg. During their meeting, the two presidents had a thorough exchange of views on the complex and ever-changing international and regional situations as well as on further development of bilateral relations and reached a broad consensus. An increasingly close dialog between the partners, China and Russia, has accompanied the increasing breadth and depth of their cooperation in international affairs.
Secondly, cooperation between the two countries has expanded in areas of their common interest. China and Russia are mutually supportive and share significant advantages derived from cooperation in many areas such as business, trade, science, human resources, culture, education, public health, aviation and space flight.
In 2001, despite a series of negative factors such as the slowdown in world economic growth, the volume of trade between China and Russia exceeded some US$10 billion. This was actually up some 33 percent on the previous year.
Breakthroughs have been made in a number of large-scale cooperative projects such as oil pipelines. The visit of a hundred Russian entrepreneurs to China and the Moscow-Guangdong Forum on Business and Trade have led to the successful signing of many new contracts. This is indicative of the potential that can be released through cooperation in business and trade between the two countries.
There have been considerable achievements in cooperation in the fields of science and technology. These are manifested in a pervasive new spirit of equality, mutual benefit, normalization, order, pragmatism and creativity. The establishment of the Sino-Russian Sci-tech Park in Zhejiang and the Sino-Russian Sci-tech Co-operation and Industrialization Center in Heilongjiang are now being followed by a new Sino-Russian Sci-tech Park in Russia.
The militaries of China and Russia have maintained their high-level contacts. They have cooperated in joint efforts to strike at terrorism, extremism and separatism in order to safeguard regional peace and stability under the framework of the SCO.
Thirdly, cultural exchanges between the two countries have been enhanced with the introduction of new channels and more opportunities for exchange. The Chinese and Russian peoples share a deep affection for each otherís cultures.
In the past year, through good work of the Sino-Russian Committee for Peace, Friendship and Development, the youth of the two countries have exchanged visits. The Chinese Film Week held in Moscow and St. Petersburg was a success and this fall will see a Russian Film Week in China.
In April 2002 new arrangements for meetings of the Cultural Ministers of the SCO countries were launched in Beijing. This has added impetus by providing a new forum for promoting Sino-Russian cultural exchanges.
Such exchanges have served to deepen the mutual understanding of the two peoples. They strengthen our resolve to treat each other as friends and never as enemies.
Fourthly, the two treaty partners have further strengthened their strategic cooperation in the cause of world peace and development.
As influential world powers and permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and Russia have actively discussed and effectively coordinated their cooperative approach to the maintenance of global strategic balance and stability. Together they have solved regional hot issues, defended the dignity of the Security Council and played their part in the anti-terrorism struggle in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America.
Such developments are proof indeed of a role for co-ordination and cooperation between China and Russia in both international and regional affairs, which is crucial not just for mutual development but also for world peace.
Clearly the Sino-Russian Good-Neighborly Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation is right for these times. It accords with the interests of the two countries and embodies the will of the two peoples. Its vitality and strength have prompted further progress in Sino-Russian relations.
We have good reason to believe that under the influence of the Treaty, Sino-Russian relations will go on to progress even further. This will not only be to the benefit of the two countries and their peoples, it will also represent a significant contribution to the cause of world peace and development.
(The author, Zhang Deguang, is ambassador of the Peopleís Republic of China to the Russian Federation.)
(China.org.cn, translated by Chen Chao, July 16, 2002)