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In the past two decades, Russian and Chinese leaders have shown foresight in establishing and cementing bilateral ties, which bear huge growth potentials, Mikhail Titarenko, director of the Far East Institute of the Russian Academy of Science, said in a recent interview with Xinhua.
Titarenko, who also chairs the Russia-China Friendship Association, recalled that Russia and China quickly built mutual understanding and made great efforts to eliminate the so-called “China threat” and “Russia threat” after the normalization of Soviet-China relations in 1989.
Russia and China established a strategic partnership of coordination in 1996. They signed a treaty of good neighborliness, friendship and cooperation in 2001, which laid solid ground for their long-term friendship, Titarenko said.
According to the expert, the treaty helped set up a stable and strong relationship between Russia and China and boosted bilateral trade. Two-way trade only amounted to a few billion dollars in 2000, but hit $89 billion 10 years later, Titarenko said.
The two countries also established air links between their major cities and completed the construction of an oil pipeline.
According to the expert, Russia will supply 20 million tons of oil to China as of 2013. In the future, the pipeline’s capacity will exceed 30 million tons a year.
China needs to diversify its energy sources while Russia needs to expand its energy markets. So it will be a right choice for both parties to build more pipelines and pump more Russian oil to the Asia-Pacific region, Titarenko said.
The way these economies complement one another means there are broad prospects for future cooperation, particularly in space, aviation and nuclear energy, Titarenko said.
Infrastructure construction, he noted, could be another area of cooperation.
“Cooperation in the construction of roads, railways, airports, border crossings would facilitate trade growth between our countries,” he noted.
Meanwhile, potential for ecology cooperation is huge, Titarenko said. At its 18th National Congress in mid-November, the Communist Party of China set a task of building a “beautiful China” and vowed to strive for ecological progress.
In Russia, a country with large fresh water reserves and abundant natural resources, ecology-friendly thinking has not been fully nurtured. The two countries should work together to protect natural resources and the environment, Titarenko said.
Speaking about President Xi’s forthcoming visit to Russia, Titarenko said the tour would definitely strengthen ties between the two countries, as their relationship is not an alliance by nature but a partnership for cooperation.
Russia and China have various fields for cooperation thanks to common goals and challenges. “China strives to build a rich, prosperous, happy nation. Russia has the same goals.”
Their close cooperation and coordination in international and regional organizations such as the United Nations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS also helped with reforms of global economic and political systems and ensured regional peace and security, said Titarenko.
In general, the prospects of Russia-China relations are “positive, hopeful and mutually beneficial,” he said. Therefore, the two countries should strengthen mutual respect and cooperation, promote common interests in the international arena more efficiently, he concluded.