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Bilateral Relations 'at the Peak of Amity and Warmth'
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China's ambassador to Russia from 1995 and 1998 Li Fenglin was witness to the forging of strategic partnership between the two neighbors. Today, Li says, Sino-Russian relationship has reached its peak.


"We gradually established a relationship in accordance with the norms of international relations. And it has been on a fast track after our strategic cooperative partnership began."


One of the main purposes of the "Year of China" in Russia is to strengthen that relationship and improve the understanding of the two peoples about each other.


The past 11 years have seen massive changes in the international environment, Li says, but the Sino-Russian strategic partnership has stood the test of time. It deals with a broad range of issues arising out of multi-polarization and democratization of international relations as well as globalization.


"It has become an important factor in global peace and stabilization." The relationship between the two countries is built on a solid foundation, he says. Besides the integrated legal system of bilateral cooperation, there is a mechanism of regular meetings between the presidents and premiers of the two countries and effective cooperative systems at the central and regional levels. 


"There are no standing political problems between the two sides after the border issue was settled. The relationship has matured."


The two countries have reached agreements on many international issues. Sovereignty and territorial integrity are of utmost importance for them, and both advocate peaceful settlement of international issues under UN charters. They respect people's right to choose their own way of development and oppose unilateralism and abuse of force.


"China and Russia have cooperated closely on many international issues such as the Iraq War and nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and Iran," Li says.


The two countries, in fact, have cooperated in almost every other field, from safety, military affairs and technology to environmental protection and the economy.


"But like any cooperation between two partners, there have been conflicts, and can be handled at the working level," he says.


When it comes to Chinese and Russian people's understanding of each other, however, Li says much needs to be done, especially on the Russian side.


There have been some misunderstandings among Russians, he says, blaming media reports on territorial claim, migration and "economic expansion" of China for that.


"But China never claimed any Russian territory even during the most complex period of their history, and we don't intend to offload our population on Russia," he says.


Russians in general regard China as a friend, as a survey this year showed more than 60 percent think so.


"I think the "Year of China" in Russia will be very helpful in strengthening the ties. Also, since it's a long-term task, we should use all kinds of channels including mass media and people-to-people contacts, especially between the youth, to help us deepen our friendship," Li says.


That's the basis of the two countries' eternal friendship, he concludes.


(China Daily March 26, 2007)

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