Edited and Translated by People's Daily Online
At the invitation of the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, the Premier of Russia Vladimir Putin is visiting China and will attend the 16th China-Russia Regular Meeting of Premiers. Although this visit is an annual routine visit between China and Russia, it has special significance this time around.
First, the mission of the visit is special. While President Hu Jintao was visiting Russia in June this year, he and President Dmitri Medvedev confirmed the strategic goal that China and Russia would make joint efforts to develop a comprehensive strategic partnership of equality, mutual trust, mutual support, common prosperity and long-term friendly relations.
During the visit, Premier Vladimir Putin will make further preparations and arrangements together with leaders of China to realize the goal. Second, Vladimir Putin has a special status. At the recent United Russia Party Congress meeting, Vladimir Putin was officially confirmed as the only candidate of the party for the 2012 presidential election. According to Russia's political forces distribution and election rules, it is almost certain that Vladimir Putin will be the next president of Russia. Under this circumstance, the significance of Vladimir Putin's visit to China is obvious.
Premier Vladimir Putin is an old friend of China. In the past decade, he, whether as the President or Premier of Russia, always actively promoted the development of the China-Russia relations and has made important contributions to the health and stability of the China-Russia strategic partnership.
The China-Russia Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation signed by the two countries in 2001 laid a solid foundation for the long-term development of the China-Russia relations. The two countries have also ultimately solved the boundary issue so that possible contradictions caused by the sensitive boundary issue have been prevented.
Economically, the areas of cooperation continue to widen and the quality of cooperation keeps upgrading between the two countries. The China-Russia cross-border oil pipeline construction, which was completed at the end of 2010 has not only provided a new guarantee for China's energy security but also gave Russia its own reliable energy market in the Asia-Pacific region. It is quite possible that the bilateral trade volume in 2011 between the two countries will reach 70 billion U.S. dollars, marking a record high.
The two countries always cooperate with each other perfectly in international organizations, such as the United Nations, G20, BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and always work together to maintain the peace and effectively promote and guarantee the security and in Northeast and Central Asia areas by carrying out series of strategic cooperative operations. All of the things above are closely connected with the efforts actively made by Vladimir Putin as an important leader of Russia.
Facing the continuously changing international situations in the next decade, how to deepen and expand the comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership between the two is an important question for both the leaders and people of the two countries. During his visit, Putin will exchange views with Wen on certain major international affairs and the relations between the two countries and will sign related cooperation agreements.
The two countries will strengthen coordination to deal with the impact of the European and U.S. debt crises to avoid being plunged into a potential double-dip global recession and to build a fairer, more reasonable and more effective international economic governance system. In addition, the two countries have long been attaching great importance to bilateral energy cooperation, especially the construction of cross-border gas pipelines and made great efforts to lighten the burden on gas consumers. Putin's visit may lead to more substantive results in the gas cooperation between the two countries.
How can Russia’s economic modernization and development strategy coordinate well with China’s modernization and the 12th Five-Year Plan? How should the two countries speed up economic cooperation to achieve the goals of increasing annual bilateral trade volume to 100 billion U.S. dollars by 2015 and 200 billion U.S. dollars by 2020 set by the leaders of the two countries? Both countries should pay great attention to these two new questions.
The development of China-Russia relations over the past 20 years has proven that as long as the two countries treat each other with sincerity and maintain their ability to innovate, their bilateral relations will be enhanced steadily. In the future, the two countries will continue to adhere to this principle, and make greater efforts to boost their comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership. All in all, Putin's routine visit to China is of great significance.
(The author is a researcher at the Institute of Russian Studies under the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations)