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Putin Says Russia-China Relations At “Historic Peak”

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Russian President Vladimir Putin told the press that despite their differences, Russia and China share common goals.

Putin told the TASS and Xinhua news agencies that both nations share development targets like favoring high-technology sectors of the economy. The Russian President is set to visit China on September 2, according to RT.

Putin to attend military parade in Beijing

One major event in Putin’s visit is the huge military parade planned in Beijing for September 3 in order to mark the 70th anniversary of victory over Japan in World War II.

“Our two countries were allies in the fight against Nazism and Japanese militarism and bore the brunt of the aggression, and they not only withstood this battle, but won it, liberating enslaved peoples and bringing peace to the planet,” Putin said.

He spoke out against attempts to alter the history books, and claimed China and Russia share an interest in maintaining historical accuracy. “Efforts by certain countries to glorify and exonerate war criminals and their henchmen are an outrageous flouting of the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials,” he said.

Putin: Russian-Chinese relations at an all-time high

Moscow and Beijing are united against the revival of Nazism and militarism, Putin said, while also acknowledging that the geopolitical situation is “growing increasingly unpredictable.”

“The creation of a new polycentric model is accompanied by growing regional and global instability,” Putin said. He blames developments on the “deficit of attempts to reach compromise,” with the “persistent desire” of certain states to “retain their dominance in global affairs at any cost,” apparently “denouncing the principle of sovereign equality” of all states enshrined in the UN Charter.

Putin believes that Russian-Chinese relations may have “reached a peak in their entire history.” He says that there is a “deep respect” and “consideration for each other’s key interests” which allow a genuine friendship to blossom.

This friendship is shown by cooperation in international organizations such as the G20, BRICS and SCO. “Expansion of the Russian-Chinese partnership meets the interests and strategic goals of our two countries,” he said, making special mention of the Joint Declaration on cooperation in development of the Eurasian Economic Union and the Silk Road Economic Belt.

Russia pivots to East after imposition of Western sanctions

China has become Russia’s key trade partner and cross-border trade has reached around $88.4 billion. Putin says that Western sanctions, which he calls “illegitimate restrictions imposed by certain Western countries against Russia,” do not impact Moscow’s relationship with Beijing.

“Our countries are consistently moving towards the creation of a strategic energy alliance,” he said. Deals related to gas and nuclear energy make the sector of vital importance to cooperation between the two nations.

Among other areas of cooperation are high-speed railway transport, aerospace and space rocket industries, while financial partnerships are also set to become deeper. Putin’s emphasis on maintaining good relations with China is shown by the fact that he has visited the country 13 times since 2000.

He expressed how he had been lucky to watch China “growing more economically powerful, achieving new targets in building a modern infrastructure and in social development.” The rapid growth of Russia’s Asian neighbor means that China can provide an alternative to European markets, which Russia has been shut out of due to its actions in Ukraine.

Putin praises China ahead of visit

“The development road China has covered over these years is a path of successful economic reform and wise social policy. This experience is of great value for us,” said Putin. Whether he was referring to trade partnerships or a roadmap for Russia to follow in its own quest for economic development, Putin will have to significantly change his foreign policy in order to emulate China.

While Beijing grew wealthy exporting cheap goods to the world, Russia came to rely heavily on energy exports. By focusing so heavily on one volatile sector, Moscow was always vulnerable to the vagaries of the global economy.

In addition an aggressive foreign policy meant that Russia was closed out of key markets due to Western sanctions, and has become increasingly isolated internationally. Putin’s kind words for China come at a time when he has made a strategic pivot to the East, seeking out partnerships in Asia both with China and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as a whole.

Although Russia desperately needs to develop deeper partnerships with China, progress is not being made as quickly as Moscow would like. In contrast, China has been striking economic deals with Pakistan at a rapid rate.

It is possible that relations between the two nations are complicated by a lack of one clearly dominant partner.

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Brendan Byrne

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