By Feng Shaolei
About 100 years ago, a scholar said the people in Asia who best
understood Russia were the Chinese, and the people in Europe who
best understood China were perhaps the Russians. A complex history
of more than 100 years has brought clouds and storms to the
Sino-Russian relationship, but relations are currently at their
best in a century.
President Hu Jintao's ongoing visit to Russia
is a testimony to the relationship.
The ongoing deepening of the Sino-Russian relations is set
against a backdrop of history and emerging realities. Modernization
of the two large countries has entered crucial and similar
After getting rid of traditional development patterns controlled
by dogmatism, both countries have to choose their paths in social
and economic development. They can blindly follow the patterns of
developed countries or create their own approaches.
Similar trends have emerged in the two countries since the start
of this century. Both China and Russia are paying increased
attention to people's lives, reinforcing central government
management, and reviving memories of their national history.
These similarities in development have enhanced the
Simultaneously, the economic surge in the new century is
highlighted by the rise of a series of newly emerging countries
transforming themselves into market-oriented economies.
Among them, the continuous economic development in China and
Russia has offered new impetus for the global economy. This will
inevitably be accompanied by changes in world politics.
Multi-polarization will rise in global politics while power
politics' ambition to dominate the world will meet with
Under these new situation, Sino-Russian cooperation is faced
with important opportunities.
The history of the strategic partnership established in 1996 is
seen as a success. At the same time, the two nations realize that
it is not easy to further improve the partnership.
Among all of China's bilateral relationships with large
countries, the Sino-Russian one may be the one with the soundest
foundation. The stability can be expected to continue.
I believe the most important task now is to create a blueprint for
the long-term development of the relationship, in accordance with
both long-term benefits for the peoples of both nations and global
Another distinctive characteristic of the current Sino-Russian
relationship still requires huge efforts to tap its potential. This
is the mutual complement of the two economies.
Every sector government, enterprises, experts and mass media
need to pursue thoughtful, practical study, communication and
consultation to build mutual understanding to form a higher-level
platform for cooperation.
Compared with surging collaboration in economic and political
fields, people-to-people contact has lagged far behind. Over half a
century ago, the two nations dispatched their most excellent
personnel to communicate. They laid a solid foundation to protect
the relationship under difficult conditions and facilitate the
large-scale progress of their partnership in favorable times.
The market-oriented economy offers a new area for
people-to-people communication. It demands more attention and
funding from society and government to achieve the progress that is
urgently needed but cannot be realized by the market alone.
With the launch of the "Year of China" in Russia this week, we
have reason to be confident about the future. Closer relations will
not be limited to an annual friendly activity but will open up a
path for long-term development of bilateral relations.
The Year of China will also make its own contributions to the
construction of a steady and harmonious global society.
The author is a director of the Russia Study Center of at
East China Normal University.
(China Daily March 29, 2007)