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China and Russia, Good Neighbors
Special> China and Russia, Good Neighbors
UPDATED: October 16, 2009 NO. 42 OCTOBER 22, 2009
Historic Past, Shared Future
China and Russia have finally become more harmonious of late. This is expected to continue in the years to come


PARTNERS FOR PEACE: Rogachev Igor (left), Russia's former Ambassador to China, and Li Fenglin, former Chinese Ambassador to Russia, show optimism about the China-Russia partnership during a seminar at the Beijing Press Center of Russia's RIA Novosti News Agency in September (GAO JIE) 

Following a series of ups and downs in their relations over time, China and Russia have finally become more harmonious of late. This is expected to continue in the years to come.

During a seminar at the Beijing Press Center of Russia's RIA Novosti News Agency in September, Igor Rogachev, former Russian Ambassador to China, and Li Fenglin, former Chinese Ambassador to Russia, shared their thoughts on the evolution of bilateral relations. Excerpts follow:

Igor Rogachev: strategic partnership of cooperation

The Soviet Union established diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China on October 2, 1949, the day after the founding of the New China. The two countries then signed the Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance and Mutual Assistance on February 14, 1950, promising to assist each other in the event of armed conflicts.

In fact, they have been seeking ways to cooperate with each other since 1949. Their relations underwent all kinds of complexities in the first 30 years, including a military and political alliance, disputes between their leading parties and the ensuing confrontation between the two countries.

Bilateral relations returned to normal in the last few years of the Soviet Union and continued to improve after the founding of the Russian Federation.

Since the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia and China have achieved three milestones in their relations. The two countries recognized each other as friendly neighbors in 1992. In 1994, they decided to establish a constructive partnership. In 1996, they found a new model for their relations as they announced plans to pursue a strategic partnership of cooperation.

This model allows them to shape their relations successfully both at present and in the future. Moscow and Beijing have reached a conclusion that the two countries should be each other's strategic partners of cooperation in the 21st century.

They also solved all problems concerning border demarcation at the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century after more than 40 years of negotiation.

On July 16, 2001, then Russian President Vladimir Putin and former Chinese President Jiang Zemin signed the historic Treaty of Good Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation, marking a qualitative change in their bilateral relations.

It established neighborly cooperation and mutual benefits instead of a military alliance as the basis for Russia-China relations, while providing a legal guarantee to the more than 200 currently valid agreements signed between Russia and China and between the Soviet Union and China.

Today, Russia and China have reached the highest level of mutual understanding ever. I believe the two countries have a huge potential for developing bilateral relations because of their identical or similar basic national interests. There is no doubt that the two countries will face a historic opportunity to strengthen and deepen their strategic partnership of cooperation in the 21st century.

Li Fenglin: relations at their best

It is no exaggeration to say China and Russia now enjoy the best relations in their 400-year-long history of bilateral exchanges—and the most normal and fruitful relations of the highest quality in the past 60 years. The trust between the two countries' leaders and the two peoples is extremely strong. Moreover, China-Russia relations have transcended the borders to have implications for world peace and stability.

In terms of geopolitics, the importance of a peaceful border between China and Russia cannot be overstated. Peace and development on the Eurasian Continent are blessings to the world at large. In regard to their cooperation in international issues, China and Russia share largely the same views on the future of the world and world governance. As a result of their cooperation, the two countries' voices on the international stage is increasing. China and Russia have also seen their bilateral cooperation, which covers almost all fields, advance in an orderly and effective manner.

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