From May 8 to 10, President Xi Jinping visited Russia and attended commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the victory of the anti-fascist war in Moscow at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The two sides agreed to jointly preserve fruits of World War II as well as international justice, and dovetail the proposed “Silk Road Economic Belt” and “Eurasia Economic Alliance”.
The timing of Xi’s visit has profound background factors.
First, by jointly commemorating the anniversary, China and Russia, as two main forces in two main battlefields of WWII, can clarify and safeguard historical facts and justice through exchange of visits and close interaction.
Second, they can provide support for each other in fierce major power gaming. For quite some time, the United States has tried hard to maintain hegemony. In eastern Europe, it has been manipulating the Ukraine crisis, coercing the European Union to pressure Russia. In the Asia-Pacific, it has taken advantage of maritime disputes to indulge Japan’s rightist turn, and been trying everything possible to contain China. Against such a backdrop, close China-Russia cooperation is both a matter of course and a logical way to seek coordination and synergy.
Xi’s visit was fruitful in multiple ways.
First, through in-depth dialogue on historical concerns, the two countries reached a high degree of consensus, confronted the mistaken outlook of Japan and some other countries on history, as well as their history revisionism, opportunism, and “pragmatism”. The two countries’ joint declaration on deepening their comprehensive strategic partnership and win-win cooperation stated in explicit terms that WWII, launched by fascist Germany and militarist Japan, created unprecedented havoc in human history. China and Russia, the two main forces respectively in the Asian and European battlefields, have undergone the most ruthless tests, made great sacrifice as well as contributions to safeguarding human dignity, and rebuilding world peace. As main victors of the war, founding members of the United Nations as well as permanent members of its Security Council, the two countries will resolutely safeguard fruits of the victory, oppose any plot to deny, twist or distort history, preserve UN authority, firmly condemn any attempt to embellish fascists, militarists and their accomplices and denigrate liberators, and make every effort to prevent the tragedy of world war from repeating itself.
Second, the two countries’ leaders reviewed contemporary international relations from a strategic perspective. The joint declaration pointed out, the comprehensive partnership of strategic cooperation between China and Russia is at its historical best, and has become an important factor that facilitates their development, ensures their national security, and upgrades their international status, as well as a reliable guarantee for the preservation of world peace and stability. The two parties will prioritize the continuous deepening of bilateral ties, and consolidate mutual support and assistance in preserving their respective sovereignty, territorial integrity, and national security, preventing outside interferences, independently choosing their own path of development, and preserving their own history, culture and values.
The two parties also reviewed macro international conditions. They agreed that uncertain factors in international relations have increased while the trend of multi-polarization accelerates. Based on their own experience in formulating and developing their own “new-type state-to-state relationship”, the two countries called on all countries to embrace “peaceful development”, “win-win cooperation”, facilitation of multi-polarization, and introduction of democracy and rule of law in international relations as the fundamental orientation of diplomacy; oppose the Cold-War mentalities of zero-sum gaming and winner-takes-all; oppose the use or threat of force; oppose unilateral sanctions and threat of sanctions. They emphasized the consensus that the UN should be the core mechanism for guaranteeing the harmonious co-existence of countries of different socio-political systems, cultural traditions and development paths, and for building a multi-polar world order that is fairer and features win-win cooperation.
Third, regarding economic matters, the two parties signed and published a joint declaration on dovetailing the “Silk Road Economic Belt” and “Eurasia Economic Alliance”. Russia supports the “belt”, and is willing to cooperate closely with China and implement the initiative. China supports the Russia-proposed integration process in the framework of the “alliance”, and will launch negotiations on economic and trade collaboration with it. The two parties will ensure sustainable economic growth in Eurasia on the basis of enhancing equitable cooperation and mutual trust.
Fourth, the two parties achieved greater cooperation in security. With the People’s Liberation Army guards of honor showing up at the Red Square parade, and the two countries’ navies holding a joint drill in the Mediterranean, the two militaries got closer. The two parties also reiterated opposition against the unilateral development and deployment of anti-missile systems, and deployment of weapons in outer space. They advocated the establishment of a cyber space that is “peaceful, safe, open, cooperative”, and opposed interfering with other countries’ internal affairs with information and communications technologies.
Xi’s visit has deepened China-Russia strategic mutual trust. That will promote Eurasian cooperation, enhance each other’s strategic initiative, and contribute to the preservation and reform of the post-war international order, making it fairer and more just.