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Main | Archive | Issue 12/2006

China-Russia Cooperation: Added Impetus
Column: Russia - China

In connection with the conclusion of the Year of Russia in China and the upcoming Year of China in Russia, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the PRC to Russia Liu Guchang answered a few questions put to him by a Diplomat correspondent.

Your Excellency, how do you assess the outcome of the Year of Russia in China? What events were the most impressive and popular?
The Year 2006 of Russia in China was an important landmark in the history of Sino-Russian cooperation. There was something new in the history of relations of the two countries-the strong desire of the leaders and peoples of the two nations to strengthen Chinese-Russian friendship and put their powerful minds together. The events proved a tremendous success. Even though the Year of Russia has come to an end, its profound impact and great stimulating effect on the relationship between both countries will last a long time. The Year furthered the trend toward an accelerated expansion of Chinese-Russian relations of strategic partnership. Fresh opportunities and wide horizons opened up. This is true especially in the following four aspects.

Mutual political confidence was increased. This year, Chinese-Russian ties at all levels were exceptionally high. In terms of summit meetings, a new record high was reached in the history of Sino-Russian relations. The Chairman of the PRC, Hu Jintao, and the President of the RF, Vladimir Putin, met five times. There were frequent meetings of the heads of the parliaments, prime ministers and heads of different agencies. Frank exchanges of views of the two sides took our mutual confidence to new heights.

The social basis of the Chinese-Russian relationship of strategic partnership was strengthened. The Days of Russian Culture, the Chinese-Russian Friendship motor rally, the Higher Education in Russia exhibition, the high-level Forum of Chinese-Russian Scientific and Technical Cooperation and other substantive humanitarian and informative events produced a real Russian boom in China, gave the Chinese people a deeper understanding of Russian history, culture and present-day realities and brought the peoples of both nations closer together.

A platform of business cooperation was created. The two sides held a high-level session of the Forum of Trade and Industrial Circles. There were presentations of individual federal districts. A Russian National Exhibition was held and a Week of Mutual Investment Promotion organized as well as a series of high-level, top-notch and large-scale events. All these events provided business circles, the authorities of provinces and regions of the two countries a rare opportunity for increased contact and stepping up cooperation in the educational, scientific, technical, and cultural spheres.

The peaceful ideology of friendship passed on from generation to generation penetrated even deeper into the hearts of the two peoples. The holding of the Years of Russia and China is an important way of implementing the Chinese-Russian Treaty on Good Neighborhood, Friendship and Cooperation. Even if China and Russia have different historical traditions and ideological and social systems, the sides respect each other, act as equal partners, address existing issues on the basis of the principle of mutual understanding and reciprocal concessions, and take account of the concerns of the other side. So, they are a role model for relations of peaceful coexistence, mutual benefit, and shared prosperity.

Every single event of the Year of Russia, which was meticulously thought out and developed by the organizing committees of both countries, stood out for its uniqueness and vividness. Eight state-level events attracted the most attention. I was involved in the preparation of the visits of President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov to China. I was deeply impressed by the opening ceremony of the Year of Russia in China, the high-level Forum of Trade and Industrial Circles, the Russian National Exhibition and the Week of Mutual Investment Promotion as well as by the closing ceremony of the Year of Russia. These events were of unprecedented scope, had a great impact and produced concrete results. Among the Chinese people, the Days of Russian Culture, the Chinese-Russian Friendship Route, the Week of Moscow in Beijing, the Week of St. Petersburg in Shanghai, the Days of Youth Culture, and the Exhibition of Treasures from the Moscow Kremlin Museums were the most popular events. These and other spectacular and joyous events enabled the Chinese people to become familiar with the interesting Russian culture. They evoked a tremendous response, especially from young Chinese. There is a new boom of Russian culture across China.

Mr. Ambassador, which events of the Year of China will, in your opinion, be the most interesting ones and which of them were initiated by your Embassy?

According to the initial list of events drafted by the organizing committees of the two countries, the forthcoming Year of China promises to prove very colorful and most diverse. To mark the start of the Year of China, the heads of our states will exchange congratulatory messages on New Years Eve. At the beginning of next year, Chairman Hu Jintao will pay Russia an official visit and take part, along with President V. V. Putin, in the official opening ceremony of the Year of China. The ceremony will be followed by ten successive state-level events: a National Exhibition of China, Days of the Culture of China, a high-level Chinese-Russian Conference of Legislative Bodies, a second high-level Chinese-Russian Forum of Trade and Industrial Circles, and the Fourth Chinese-Russian Investment Promotion Meeting. The government of the PRC attaches great importance to the Year of China in Russia and will try to comprehensively show the Russian people both Chinas present-day stage of development and the essence of traditional Chinese culture.

Just as was the case of the Year of Russia in China, all events under the Year of China in Russia will be planned, coordinated and implemented by eight working groups set up by the two sides. The Embassy of the PRC is actively involved in these efforts, while at the same time playing a leading and connecting role for enterprises, organizations and individual persons taking part in events that are part of the Years of Russia and China. It is my hope that thanks to the painstaking planning of the organizing committees of the two sides and the involvement of representatives of various circles, the Year of China in Russia will prove as diverse and colorful as the Year of Russia in China was.

How effectively did the far-reaching and comprehensive events that were part of the Years of Russia and China contribute to deepening bilateral Chinese-Russian ties?
In the course of the Year of Russia in China, quite a few high-level, large-scale and wide-impact events were held in China. They proved veritable masterpieces and were instrumental in promoting ties and cooperation of the two nations in various spheres. The Forum of Trade and Industrial Circles, the National Exhibition of Russia and the Week of Mutual Investment Promotion were unprecedented successes that breathed new life into the trade and economic cooperation between our countries. During the Week of Mutual Investment Promotion alone, the sides signed investment contracts worth more than $1 billion. In the first nine months of this year, the bilateral trade volume reached $24.6 billion, an 18 percent increase over the same period last year. I assume that the total annual goods turnover will reach the $36 billion mark, a new record high. Russia held presentations of more than 20 regional projects. Over 1,000 Russian citizens took part in the Jilin and Harbin fairs that brought about a boom of regional interaction in China. The Days of Culture and appearances of performers broadcast on TV attracted the attention of tens of millions of Chinese viewers. The display of paintings from the Tretyakov Gallery, the Exhibition of National Treasures and other shows of Russias classical works of art drew many visitors.

As a result of the events enumerated, business cooperation between the two countries has expanded even more, ties between representatives of various circles have become even tighter, and the mutual understanding between our two peoples and relations of strategic partnership in all areas been revitalized still further.


-, 2006