BEIJING, March 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- The world is experiencing profound changes unseen in a century, with increased geopolitical turbulence, aggravated confrontation between unilateralism and multi-polarity, an unprecedented pandemic and the rumbling Russia-Ukraine crisis.
Amid this global background, Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will meet in Moscow from March 20-22, to discuss the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination, exchange views on major international and regional affairs and push ahead with the practical cooperation between the two countries, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
China just concluded the annual sessions of its national legislature and top advisory body, at which the Chinese government revealed its 2023 GDP goal: around 5 percent, which many say is conservative given the rapid recovery of China's economic activities. And the country recently also brokered a peace deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran, successfully advancing the resumption of their diplomatic relations.
As China is restarting its economy – a significant driving force for the struggling global economy, and is playing a more active role in the global political field, the international community is expecting a lot for the upcoming meeting between the Chinese and Russian presidents.
A trip to promote world peace
The upcoming state visit to Russia marks Xi's first foreign trip after assuming his third term as Chinese president earlier this month, and also his first visit to Russia since the Russia-Ukraine conflict began in February 2022.
Noting that the visit will further deepen mutual trust and understanding between the two countries, Wang Wenbin, spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said at a regular press briefing that it will also be a trip to foster peace.
Observing that the relationship between China and Russia is based on the principles of non-alliance, non-confrontation and non-targeting of third parties, Wang said that on this basis, China and Russia will promote a multi-polar world and greater democracy in international relations and contribute to world development and progress.
As for the highly-anticipated talks about the Ukraine crisis, Wang said China will continue to uphold its objective and just position on the issue and play a constructive role in promoting peace talks.
China's success in mediating a rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran has not only proven the viability of peace talks, but also raised hopes that it could do the same in solving the Ukraine conflict.
Noting that China has friendly relations with both Russia and Ukraine, Yuan Sha, an assistant research fellow at the Department for American Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, believed that the constructive mediating role of China between Russia and Ukraine could be expected as China's successful mediation between Saudi Arabia and Iran has earned China the credential of an honest and constructive broker.
Yuan added that China has all along reiterated its commitment to promoting peace and facilitating negotiations between Russia and Ukraine.
A cooperation trip to boost global economic recovery
"The more turbulent the world is, the more important it is for China-Russia relations to move forward steadily," said Chinese Ambassador to Russia Zhang Hanhui in a recent interview.
According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Xi's visit to Russia will be a trip of cooperation to promote mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields, deepen the synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union, and help the two countries achieve their respective goals of development and revitalization.
As the year 2023 marks the 10th anniversary of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Cui Hongjian, director of the Department for European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, said that Russia is an important partner of China in the BRI cooperation and their future and further cooperation within the framework can benefit more countries and regions.
Noting that China and Russia can steadily push forward projects in fields including energy and infrastructure, Ding Xiaoxing, director of the Eurasia Institute of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said that the steady growth of China-Russia cooperation will inject more positive energy into world economic recovery.
In 2022, bilateral trade between China and Russia hit a record high of $190.27 billion, said Ambassador Zhang, adding that energy trade has played an even more pivotal role in bilateral trade, while China's exports of electrical products, automobiles and auto parts to Russia have all seen substantial growth.
On Thursday, a China-Europe freight train bound for Moscow departed from Beijing. The train, loaded with goods including home appliances, clothes and auto parts is set to arrive after traveling about 18 days.
"We believe that the China-Russia trade will reach new heights in 2023, and we strive to achieve the trade target of $200 billion by the end of this year, set by the two heads of state," Zhang said.
While the all-round cooperation between the two countries is flourishing, people-to-people and cultural exchanges are also thriving. Nowadays, the two peoples are marking the 2023 year of sports exchanges.