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Year of Russia Yields Fruitful Results
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By Yu Sui

The curtain is now going down on the Year of Russia.

The staging of the Year of Russia in China this year was decided upon by Chinese President Hu Jintao and Russian President Vladimir Putin during the former's Russia tour last year. The Year of China is slated to open in Russia next year, the two heads of state agreed. This exchange is a first in the history of China-Russia relations, designed to promote friendship, enhance mutual trust and spur co-operation.

In commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the China-Russia strategic partnership, President Putin made a state visit to China on March 21-22 this year. Russian singers and dancers put on a grand show at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, marking the opening of the Year of Russia in China.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov is scheduled to visit China today and tomorrow and have talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. This will be the 11th regular meeting between the Chinese and Russian premiers.

During Fradkov's visit, a joint communique is to be issued and a string of important co-operation documents signed. The two leaders will take stock of the Year of Russia's accomplishments and make arrangements for next year's Year of China in Russia.

In the meantime, a closing ceremony for the Year of Russia, a Russian national exhibition and investment-promoting activities are expected to be held.

All this shows that the Year of Russia is heading to a satisfactory end.

The Year of Russia has counted on the support of personnel from both sides, distributed across a wide social spectrum, from central authorities to localities, from officials to private citizens.

Virtually all senior Russian leaders have made tours to China, including the president, the prime minister, deputy prime ministers, speakers of both houses of the Russian Parliament and so on.

Also, Russian scientists, artists and entrepreneurs have swarmed to China for exchanges and businesses in their particular areas of expertise.

Thanks to the Russian Culture Festival, the Exhibition of Russia's Higher Education, the Chinese-Russian Forum on Co-operation in Science and Technology, the Week of Moscow and the Week of St. Petersburg, the Chinese are able to get a look at the brilliant Russian culture at close range and have a better idea of Russia's history and its development in contemporary times.

The China-Russia trade volume this year is expected to hit US$36 billion, a record high. At this pace, the goal for bilateral trade to reach between US$60 billion and US$80 billion by 2010 is expected to be met ahead of schedule.

Through years of efforts, 68 pairs of Chinese and Russian cities or provinces have become sister cities or provinces. Co-operative ties have been forged between 500 Chinese and Russian higher-learning institutions. Next year, a number of Confucius institutes will be founded in Russia.

During the Year of Russia, the two sides have strengthened their co-operation in international affairs. China and Russia, for example, act in well-orchestrated steps on the nuclear issue of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, with both insisting on assuring a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, pushing for peace and stability on the peninsula and prompting that the Korean nuclear issue be put back on the track of the six-party talks.

The Year of Russia signifies that a new type of nation-to-nation relationship has taken shape between China and Russia. It is manifested by the following phenomena.

First, the two countries place their relations on the grounds of common needs and interests.

Both countries are, in a sense, in the transitional period, committed to reform and national revival. Both Chinese and Russian reforms are orientated to expanding co-operation with the international community, raising productivity and boosting science and technology. On this basis, the overall national power will be strengthened and people's livelihood improved.

As close neighbors, both countries follow the five principles of peaceful co-existence in handling bilateral relations, which are non-aligning, non-confrontational and not targeting a third party by nature.

Also, the two countries vow not to allow ideology to get in the way of the bilateral relations.

Second, both countries try to strengthen economic co-operation by tapping each other's advantages to make up for their own deficiencies.

With their own particular economic strong points behind them, China and Russia share a common border of 4,200 kilometers and boast vast markets. The potential for co-operation, therefore, is huge.

Third, both countries cope with the changing situations in the international arena on the basis of consensus.

China and Russia have much common ground with regard to the situations on the international political terrain and policies taken to assure world peace and stability. This involves their perspectives of the world political framework and regional hot spots and their outlooks on traditional and non-traditional threats to security.

Fourth, both countries, by enhancing mutual political trust, try to remove stumbling blocks that stand in the way of the improvement of the bilateral relations.

Instead of looking away from the difficulties in the China-Russia relationship, the leaders of both countries look squarely at them and try to come up with effective ways to overcome them.

The Chinese-Russian relations take on salient features: The relations are of strategic co-operation and yet non-alignment in nature. Both nations enjoy close ties and yet are not interdependent on each other. Disputes crop up time and again but are settled through negotiations. Both countries attach importance to their bilateral ties with the United States and yet are opposed to unilateralism. They are trying to bring about a multi-polar world but refrain from seeking hegemony.

(China Daily November 9, 2006)

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