China-Ukraine relations on fast track

13:16, June 21, 2011      

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Chinese President Hu Jintao made a state visit to Ukraine from June 18 to June 20. As the first visit by a Chinese head of state to Ukraine in a decade, it marks a milestone in China-Ukraine relations and will put the mutually beneficial relationship on a fast track.

As a major power in Europe, Ukraine has great potential for economic growth and can exert considerable influence in regional and international affairs. Viktor Yanukovych, president of Ukraine has said he considers the cooperation between the two countries to be extremely important and reiterated that the fast-growing Chinese economy has become a new growth engine for the world economy, and that deepening relations with China serves the interests of Ukraine.

Ukraine sees China as a model in economic and social development, and believes that cooperation with China is a key contributor to its economic modernization. The Ukrainian government sees relations with China as a top priority in its foreign policy. China also values its relations with Ukraine, and deems Ukraine a reliable friend and partner. China believes that a solid foundation for bilateral cooperation has been laid over the past 20 years, and bilateral relations are at a crucial point and are ready to move onto a fast track.

The two countries have greatly enhanced mutual cooperation in many fields, such as politics, economy, technology and culture since 2010, and the frequent high-level exchanges have effectively strengthened their political ties. The heads of state of the two countries vowed to establish and develop a strategic partnership during Yanukovych's visit to China in September 2010.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov visited China and attended the Boao Forum for Asia in April 2011. Meanwhile, Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang visited Ukraine and co-chaired the first meeting of an intergovernmental cooperation commission at the vice premier level. The two countries announced last year to establish the commission in order to improve pragmatic cooperation. The commission is mainly made up of six working groups in charge of the bilateral cooperation in the fields of economy, agriculture, technology, aerospace, education, and culture. In addition, the China-Ukraine Business Council was also established to enhance the communication and exchanges between the entrepreneurs of both sides.

China-Ukraine economic and trade ties have showed a sound development momentum. In 2010, the two countries' heads of state set a bilateral trade target of 10 billion U.S. dollars for 2012. The bilateral trade value reached 8 billion U.S. dollars in 2010, an increase of 34 percent from a year earlier. The bilateral trade value exceeded 3 billion U.S. dollars in the first four months of 2011, an increase of 49 percent from the same period of a year earlier. China has become Ukraine’s major economic and trade partner.

The scientific and technological cooperation between China and Ukraine has continued to deepen. The two sides are actively cooperating in fields such as aviation, aerospace, shipbuilding, electronics, communications, new energy, new materials, agriculture and environmental protection. As part of the multi-level and extensive cooperation between the two sides, the bilateral military technology cooperation has always progressed smoothly based on mutual benefit.

The cultural exchanges between China and Ukraine are also on the rise along with their increasingly close political and economic ties. More than 8,800 Chinese students now study in Ukraine and more than 1,000 Ukrainian students are learning the Chinese language. Ukraine will hold a "Chinese Culture Day" in September 2011.

China the Ukraine are both at a strategic opportunity period to rejuvenate their countries in the post-crisis era. The mutual demand between the two countries is further improving and both sides have the realistic demand, sincere desires and cooperative dynamics to push their bilateral ties to a higher level. The two countries will sign a series of strategic cooperation agreements during President Hu’s visit, which will move the China-Ukraine relations onto a fast track and make the two countries good friends and partners to jointly achieve modernization.

By Feng Yujun, researcher and director of the Institute of Russian Studies under the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, translated by People’s Daily Online
 
 
     
 
 
 
     
 
 
 
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(Editor:张茜)

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