Closer Sino-Russian ties to bring stability
Broader and deeper cooperation between China and Russia will bring prosperity and stability to the region and the world, analysts said as Premier Li Keqiang returned to Beijing on Thursday after an official visit to Russia. That is especially so given the challenges of the current international economic and political situation, they said.
During the three-day visit, Li had talks and co-chaired the 24th regular meeting between Chinese and Russian heads of government with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in St. Petersburg. Li also met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
Both countries agreed on the necessity of deepening their strategic communication and pragmatic cooperation as the world faces growing instability and rising protectionism.
Li, in meeting with Putin at the Kremlin on Wednesday, said the healthy and stable development of China-Russia relations is not only beneficial to both sides but also conducive to the region and the world.
China is willing to join Russia in safeguarding an international system with the United Nations at its core and a multilateral trading system based on the World Trade Organization's rules, Li said. That is of great significance for promoting the development, prosperity, peace and stability of the world, he said.
Li added that China, with its immense market potential, is expanding its opening-up. This will bring increasing opportunities for businesses of all countries, including Russia, he said.
Li said he hopes both countries will continue two-way opening up and further widen market access for investment to bring more cooperation opportunities for businesses of both sides.
Putin said the relationship with China is a priority of Russian diplomacy, and the Russia-China relationship is an important stabilizing factor in international relations.
Li Yonghui, a senior researcher of Russian foreign policy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the China-Russia relationship is now at its best level in history thanks to the nations' joint efforts since the establishment of diplomatic ties 70 years ago.
As permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and Russia also bear the responsibility of safeguarding multilateralism and free trade as well as promoting fair and reasonable rules in global governance, she said.
"Their joint efforts in this regard are injecting positive energy into the international community amid the ongoing resistance to promoting globalization," she said.
She added that the two countries are also turning their political mutual trust into pragmatic economic relations so that China-Russia cooperation can go deeper in broader areas including the services trade, technology innovation and agricultural products.
Sun Zhuangzhi, head of the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the number of fruitful outcomes reached during Li Keqiang's visit was the first pragmatic step in developing their comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era. The partnership was elevated during President Xi Jinping's state visit to Russia in June.
Cooperation in traditional industries has been upgraded, with the premier encouraging cooperation in refining and chemical integration in the energy sector. At the same time, cooperation in emerging sectors such as the digital economy and e-commerce also have expanded, Sun said.
Alexander Lomanov, an expert at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations at the Russian Academy of Sciences, told Russia's Sputnik news agency that the 24th regular meeting between the heads of government also bears special significance against the backdrop of ongoing China-US trade tensions.
While the United States is damaging its economic ties with China, China and Russia are sitting down and thinking about how to make their economic relations closer, increase their trade volume and expand cooperation in all areas, he said.
Ren Qi in Moscow contributed to this story.