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Monday, December 4, 2023

China and Russia Solidify Mutual Support Amid Global Challenges: Prime Minister Mishustin’s Pivotal Visit

ChinaChina and Russia Solidify Mutual Support Amid Global Challenges: Prime Minister Mishustin's Pivotal Visit

During a key meeting with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin in Beijing on Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping underscored China’s commitment to fostering mutual support with Russia. Xi stated that China stands ready to back Russia in areas that pertain to their respective core interests. In a climate marked by global upheavals and uncertainties, this gesture of solidarity signals the joint resolve of the two nations to safeguard their common objectives.

Xi Jinping further expressed the desire to enhance coordination with Russia on various multilateral platforms. This endeavor mirrors China’s proactive approach in building synergies with Russia across diverse international forums. This collaborative effort is intended to foster an environment of multilateralism, capable of countering potential hegemonic forces and unilateralism, thus ensuring stability in global governance.

On the same day, Chinese Premier Li Qiang also welcomed the Russian Prime Minister. The ceremonious meeting between Li and Mishustin signified the strengthening of diplomatic ties between the two nations. The mutual respect and camaraderie demonstrated during these proceedings underscore the increasingly robust relationship between China and Russia.

This significant diplomatic event between the two powerhouses showcased their collective effort to restore mechanisms for routine face-to-face dialogues at the government head level. The COVID-19 pandemic had put a three-year-long halt to such crucial interactions. This initiative denotes a concerted bid to further cement and operationalize the consensus that the top leaders of both nations achieved in their March meetings.

During the meeting, Xi Jinping asked Prime Minister Mishustin to pass on his cordial greetings to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Xi recalled his state visit to Russia in March, during which he and Putin charted the course for the future development of China-Russia relations. This shared vision extends to cooperation across multiple domains, highlighting the bilateral commitment to deepening ties.

Xi Jinping further emphasized the collective aspiration of the people and the trend of the times to fortify China-Russia relations. This sentiment echoes the consensus of the public and demonstrates the momentum driving the steady development of Sino-Russian relations. It is a shared goal that stands as a testament to the robust partnership between the two nations.

The Russian Prime Minister reciprocated the sentiment by expressing Russia’s eagerness to promote the process of multi-polarization for the world and consolidate the international order based on international law. He also expressed the desire to enhance cultural and people-to-people exchanges with China to foster enduring friendship between the two nations.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin echoed President Xi’s sentiments during their meeting, emphasizing Russia’s commitment to cultivating a global multipolar order based on international law. This multipolar view, where power is distributed among various states rather than being concentrated in one or two superpowers, has been a key aspect of Russian foreign policy for years. Mishustin’s statements are indicative of Russia’s intention to consolidate this stance in cooperation with China, thereby strengthening the international order and promoting greater stability worldwide.

Furthermore, Mishustin underscored the importance of fostering stronger cultural and people-to-people ties between China and Russia. These exchanges play a crucial role in establishing a solid foundation for bilateral relations, creating mutual understanding and trust between the two countries. It’s a gesture that speaks volumes about Russia’s willingness to cultivate an enduring friendship with China, contributing to a more profound and lasting bond that extends beyond the realm of political and economic collaboration.

The meeting marked a significant stride in China-Russia relations with the signing of various bilateral agreements. These agreements spanned multiple domains, including service trade cooperation, sports, patents, and the export of Russian millet to China. The diverse nature of these agreements highlights the broad spectrum of cooperation that characterizes the relationship between the two countries, demonstrating a mutual interest in a wide range of sectors and a shared commitment to mutual growth and development.

Cui Heng, an assistant research fellow from the Center for Russian Studies at East China Normal University, weighed in on the significance of Mishustin’s visit. According to him, the primary objective of the Prime Minister’s trip was to implement the consensus reached during the meetings of the top leaders of both countries in March. The agenda set during these discussions now serves as a roadmap for the deepening cooperation between China and Russia, as the two countries look to further solidify their strategic partnership.

Adding to this, Mishustin’s presence at the high-level China-Russia business forum in Shanghai underscored Russia’s eagerness to encourage pragmatic cooperation amid a globally turbulent environment. It signaled Russia’s readiness to explore collaborative opportunities with China in various economic sectors, highlighting the importance of such practical partnerships in addressing shared challenges and fostering mutual prosperity.

In the context of the ongoing Ukraine crisis, it’s important to clarify that China-Russia cooperation operates independently of this conflict. Chinese and Russian analysts have stressed that the focus of this collaboration is to deter escalating tensions and avoid further conflicts, especially in light of increased hostility from the US towards both nations.

Despite the complex global political landscape, China and Russia have demonstrated a shared commitment to strengthening their bilateral relationship. Their cooperation serves as a powerful buffer against hegemonic tendencies, contributing to a more balanced and stable world order.

The robust bond between China and Russia, as reflected in these recent diplomatic engagements, sends a clear message of mutual respect and shared aspirations. It’s a testament to the enduring partnership between the two countries, underpinned by shared principles and a mutual desire for peace, stability, and prosperity in a multipolar world.

Zhang Hong, a research fellow at the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies, pointed out that Russia’s increasing motivation to expand trade with China due to Western sanctions and isolation underpins the significance of Mishustin’s visit.

Xi expressed China’s willingness to work with Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) members to synergize the Belt and Road Initiative and the EAEU. He believed this would facilitate the formation of a more open, large regional market, ensuring the stability of global industrial and supply chains.

As the Belt and Road Initiative celebrates its 10th anniversary, Russia, being the largest country along the routes of the initiative, is seen as a critical player in its further development. The countries aim to seek deeper cooperation and coordination to better connect the initiative and the EAEU.

Despite the US’s attempt to instigate China-Russia relations by hinting at China’s increasing presence in Central Asia affecting Russia’s influence, Chinese experts dismissed these assertions. They emphasized the high level of mutual trust and shared views on development and security between China and Russia, making any attempts of instigation by the US futile.

In summary, the visit of Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin to China reaffirms both countries’ commitment to mutual support and coordination in their core interests. Despite the global challenges, the two countries remain steadfast in their determination to enhance bilateral ties and uphold multilateralism for world peace and stability.

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