Principled partnership for the common good
[MA XUEJING/CHINA DAILY]
The international landscape has become increasingly complex and volatile in recent years, with economic ties, cultural exchanges and security coordination between countries suffering heavy setbacks because of the persistent Cold War mentality that holds sway in some countries, and the COVID-19 pandemic that's threatening humanity. Against this backdrop, China and Russia should advance their comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era in the following three ways.
First, standing on the right side of history, China and Russia should uphold the non-alignment policy while deepening cooperation, and further enhance their capabilities to jointly address regional and global affairs. On the premise of fully respecting each other's strategic interests and practical concerns, the two countries should take a clear-cut stand on coordinating and clarifying their policy positions when dealing with new changes in the international situation, new geostrategic challenges and new global security situations. They should strengthen policy coordination and interactions to oppose hegemony, prevent a new Cold War, safeguard peace and stability, and promote global governance and common progress.
China and Russia should make the most of being permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, key players of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS and active participants in multilateral cooperation mechanisms such as APEC, the G20, the World Health Organization and the East Asia Summit. By doing so, China and Russia can jointly pursue common growth and security. On the premise of helping mitigate international tensions, promoting international security dialogues, establishing regional and global security frameworks and eliminating various hidden security dangers, they should jointly take part in global peacekeeping operations under the UN framework and boost regional security cooperation under the SCO framework. Furthermore, they should strengthen their exchanges and collaboration in national security, national defense development and military technologies.
Second, as two major countries, China and Russia should undertake their due responsibilities and bolster their pragmatic cooperation to make unique contributions to global public governance and the health and safety of mankind. Given the normalization of COVID-19 prevention and control measures and cooperation in this regard, public health development in all countries and the collective health and safety of each society will become a priority for global governance.
China and Russia should jointly strengthen support for global public health governance, especially by expanding the scale and scope of cooperation by relevant departments and professional agencies. They should promote more exchanges and dialogue to jointly respond to the pandemic, establish an information exchange mechanism and a joint COVID-19 prevention and control mechanism, and foster a cultivation and training system for high-caliber public health personnel. With the construction of a joint biomedical research center as the forerunner, they can establish more advanced medical scientific research institutions such as centers for medical research in infectious diseases, boost their pragmatic cooperation in medicine and vaccine research and development, and explore the feasibility of medical and health organizations or manufacturing joint ventures and remote medical services.
Third, they should continue to press ahead with economic, trade and technological cooperation in an all-round manner, boost cultural exchanges, and promote the building of a closer China-Russia community with a shared future for development and progress.
With great potential in economic growth and vast room for technological cooperation and robust demand in mutual investment, bilateral trade and mutual investment has seen growth against headwinds over the past few years, demonstrating that the two economies are highly complementary. Nevertheless, there's still a wide gap between the current bilateral trade value and a $200 billion trade goal that both sides had agreed upon, mutual direct investment falls short of expectations, and technological collaboration fails to cover all desired areas. China and Russia should summarize their experience in economic, trade, technology, energy and financial cooperation and map out new plans for cooperation.
They should continue to strengthen their coordination in areas such as transportation facilitation and customs clearance, jointly plan and establish more modern logistics bases and bonded warehouses, and formulate strategies and implementation plans for expanding cross-border e-commerce. Based on actual demand, the two countries should explore the feasibility of jointly constructing research and development bases or experimental zones for semiconductors, lithography machines, aircraft engines and quantum communication technology.
Based on the development plan for the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor, China and Russia should explore new directions and new pathways for the implementation of this development plan and ensure new projects and new measures for the construction of the economic corridor. The two countries should actively push forward their cooperation to dock Russia's development plan for its Far East and Siberia and China's plan to revitalize its Northeast, and formulate a mechanism for mutual investment. The China-Russia and China-Mongolia regional cooperation zones should make solid progress in technology, healthcare for the elderly, as well as trade, cultural and industrial cooperation, setting a stellar example for economic globalization and regional integration.
In the meantime, China and Russia should intensify collaboration in regular higher education and vocational and technical education by increasing government-funded overseas study, expanding the further study program, and encouraging youths and scholars to study and start businesses in each other's country. Colleges, universities and scientific research institutions from both sides should be encouraged to establish whole-chain service platforms covering basic science, applied science, transformation of scientific and technological achievements, and even financial technology, so that technological cooperation and cultural cooperation between the two countries can advance simultaneously.
In a nutshell, the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era is guaranteed by increasingly abundant programmatic declarations and constantly upgrading strategic documents, relevant treaties and agreements. It is based on pragmatic cooperation in various fields, at various levels, between different entities, and of all sorts. Such a strategic partnership is capable of keeping abreast of the times and making constant innovations. It boasts strong momentum and broad prospects. It is by no means a "military and political alliance" as claimed by some Western countries. Neither is it a "quasi-alliance "as described by some scholars.
The China-Russia partnership for a new era is in essence a combination and a dialectical unity between a new type of major-country relations and a new type of good-neighborliness characterized by jointly pursuing development, seeking common security, rising to challenges and shouldering significant responsibilities.
The author is former vice-minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, and former Chinese ambassador to Uzbekistan. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.
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