Russia and China have developed a new pattern of bilateral relationship featuring a mature, trustworthy and reliable partnership and a sentiment to hold candid dialogues on any issue, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a recent interview with Xinhua.
As neighbors, Russia and China have signed a treaty of friendly cooperation and solved the border issue, and the leadership of the two countries has conducted dialogue on a regular basis on bilateral and international issues, the top diplomat said, adding that trade and economic, energy, military cooperation has also been growing steadily.
Lavrov expressed his belief that the Year of China in Russia and the Year of Russia in China -- ongoing programs of cultural exchanges between the two countries -- will deepen the understanding and friendship between the two peoples.
China has become a new polar in international relations, Lavrov said. Russia is not worried about the "peaceful rise of China," which, in Russia's view, provides an opportunity for expanding cooperation and promoting growth in both countries, he added.
"As permanent members of the UN Security Council, Russia and China bear a special responsibility for international, regional peace and security, and expanding cooperation between the two countries is of great significance to safeguarding global stability," Lavrov said.
"Russia values cooperation with China on international issues, in particular UN reform, arms control, preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, resolving 'hot issues' and ensuring security of adjacent regions for the two countries," he said.
The Russian minister stressed the importance of cooperation with China in seeking political and diplomatic solutions to the Iranian and Korean nuclear issues.
Lavrov reiterated Russia's stand on a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and said Russia believed the six-party talks are the best way to resolve the issue. Currently, the key task is to move the talks forward toward the final resolution of the issue, he said.
Speaking on Iran's nuclear issue, Lavrov urged the country to halt uranium enrichment to restore international confidence in its nuclear energy activities and said Russia saw "no need to replace the International Atomic Energy Agency with the UN Security Council in tackling the issue."
On the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the top diplomat said it has developed into a strong group that can safeguard its own interests and regional security and stability and is playing an increasingly influential role in international and regional arenas.
The SCO has advocated new forms of international cooperation in issues including the fight against terrorism and established cooperation with some international groups, Lavrov said.
The SCO, established in 2001, groups Russia, China and four Central Asian states -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Lavrov said UN reform is a long-term process and should proceed in accordance with the principles of collective security and equality of national sovereignty that have been enshrined in the UN Charter.
Reform should consolidate the world body and boost its role as an international political mediation center, and reform of the Security Council should be aimed at greater efficiency and be consensus-based, he said.