CULTURAL EXCHANGES: A Chinese teacher instructs a Russian student in practicing traditional Chinese calligraphy at the China Culture Center in Moscow on December 5 (CAO YAN)
Compared with political cooperation, economic cooperation between the two sides seemingly lagged behind. "The economy has its own set of rules that cannot be changed simply by government orders," Wang Lijiu stressed. "But governments can create a good environment for boosting bilateral economic cooperation."
Trade is becoming an increasingly important link between the two neighbors. The trade volume between China and Russia has increased 12 times over the past two decades, reaching $80 billion last year. It is expected to hit a new record of $90 billion this year. China is now Russia's top trade partner, while Russia is among China's fastest growing major trade partners.
The two sides have also made great progress in financial cooperation. The Chinese yuan and the Russian ruble have become tradable and business people from both sides can now use their own currencies in trade activities.
China and Russia are enjoying the benefits from their burgeoning economic cooperation, which adds momentum to their close political partnership. In particular, they need to work together to fight against the international financial crisis and establish a new world order, Wang Lijiu said.
Liu Guiling, another researcher with the CICIR, summarized the past 20 years as the steady development of relations between China and Russia. They are becoming the best example of cooperation between two big powers, said Liu.
China and Russia closely coordinated with each other within multilateral frameworks such as the Group of 20, APEC, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the BRICS group of emerging economies.
Wu Enyuan, Director of the Institute of Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), stressed that strengthening cooperation between China and Russia is conducive to international and regional peace and stability while helping balance the international order.
China and Russia have made their decisions in the face of a complex global environment and rising security pressures in the Asia-Pacific region, choosing to be friends rather than foes.
During Wen's recent meeting with Medvedev, the two leaders not only reviewed their achievements and experiences in bilateral cooperation, but also exchanged views on further expanding cooperation in politics, economy, trade, energy, science, technology, culture, as well as major international and regional affairs.
Both sides agreed that the China-Russia relationship is at a high point. During Putin's visit to China shortly after his inauguration this year, the two countries further specified principles, directions and priorities for their future ties.
Putin has made a clear strategic judgment regarding Russia's powerfully growing neighbor: China's economic growth does not represent a threat to Russia; China doesn't harbor ambitions to dominate the world stage; and all meaningful political problems in the China-Russia relationship have been properly resolved.
During his meeting with the visiting Chinese premier in Sochi on December 6, Putin said the partnership between the two countries has effectively boosted their socioeconomic development and helped address issues concerning world stability.
Putin added that Russia is happy to see China's great achievements over the past decade in maintaining economic growth, boosting social harmony, pursuing an independent foreign policy of peace and achieving ever-increasing international prestige.
Xing Guangcheng, an expert in Russian studies with the CASS, said China shares the desire to deepen bilateral relations with Russia. The 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China confirmed that China will stick to its principles of promoting friendship and partnership with its neighbors and working to benefit neighboring countries with its healthy development, Xing said.
Wang Lijiu said that the two sides have common strategic demands for boosting their bilateral relationship.
China and Russia are currently at an economic turning point, in which they need to find development paths fitting their respective national conditions. They have consistently encouraged and supported each other's exploration and sought to learn from one another, stressed Wang Lijiu.