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President Xi Jinping Had a Virtual Meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin

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On the afternoon of 15 December, President Xi Jinping had a virtual meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing.

President Xi expressed his pleasure in meeting President Putin virtually at the year-end, their second virtual meeting in 2021 and their 37th meeting since 2013. President Xi noted that on multiple occasions President Putin has hailed Russia-China relations as a model of coordination between countries in the 21st century, firmly supported China in upholding core interests, and rejected attempts to sow discord between Russia and China. President Xi expressed his deep appreciation and readiness to work with President Putin to review the new progress made in bilateral relations this year, draw up new plans for cooperation across the board, and promote the sustained and high-quality development of bilateral ties.

President Xi stressed that the combined forces of changes in the world and the COVID-19 pandemic, both unseen in a century, have taken the world into a phase of fluidity and transformation. China-Russia relations have emerged from all kinds of tests to demonstrate new vitality. President Xi noted his regular communication and coordination in various forms with President Putin on major agenda items, through which they have jointly charted the course for China-Russia relations. The two sides have officially announced the renewal of the Treaty of Good-neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation and made it more relevant in the new era. They have extended firm mutual support on issues concerning each other’s core interests, thus defending the national dignity and common interests of both countries.  

President Xi pointed out the enormous political advantage and great opportunities in the all-round practical cooperation between China and Russia. Bilateral trade in the first three quarters of 2021 exceeded US$100 billion for the first time, and the year-round volume is expected to hit a new record. The China-Russia Year of Scientific and Technological Innovation has been a big success. A number of major projects with strategic importance have been successfully implemented. Smooth progress is being made in synergizing Belt and Road cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union. The two countries have actively fulfilled their responsibilities as major countries, promoted a united, global responseto COVID-19, communicated the true meaning of democracy and human rights, and acted as the bulwark of following true multilateralism and upholding fairness and justice in the world.

President Xi noted that next year, the Communist Party of China (CPC) will host its 20th National Congress while Russia will enter an important stage in implementing its national development goals by 2030. The two sides need to share opportunities in the process of opening-up, keep advancing the global development agenda, and play their roles in fostering a new type of international relations and building a community with a shared future for mankind.

President Xi underscored President Putin’s visit to China and attendance at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympicsin over a month’s time as a concrete action to support China’s work as the host. Beijing will become the first city in the world to host both Summer and Winter Olympics. Preparations are in full swing to present a streamlined, safe and splendid Games, and work on all fronts is mostly ready. The two Presidents will have exchanged visits to Olympic Games held in each other’s countries, and the two countries will hold the Year of Sports Exchange in the next two years. President Xi stressed the need to take these opportunities to turn sports exchange into a bridge and bond for greater mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples. President Xi expressed his hope that during President Putin’s upcoming visit to China,the first in-person meeting between the two leaders in two years, they will have in-depth discussions on bilateral relations and major international and regional issues, and reach more new, important common understandings. He said that he very much looks forward to this“get-together for the Winter Olympics” and stands ready to work with President Putin “for a shared future” to jointly open a new chapter inpost-COVID China-Russia relations.

President Xi pointed out that at the sixth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the CPC held not long ago, the CPC Central Committee adopted and released a new historic resolution to conduct a comprehensive review of the major achievements and historical experience of the Party over the past century. “As I often say, our goal is both big and simple. It is essentially about delivering a better life to all Chinese. Putting people first is our fundamental philosophy of governance,” said President Xi.Both China and Russia are major countries with global influence and both have found development paths that suit their national conditions. President Xi reaffirmed China’s commitment to firmly support Russia in maintaining long-term stability, and expressed his readiness to have regular, candid and in-depth exchanges on governance experience with President Putin so as to jointly provide guidance to the sustained and high-level development of China-Russia relations and lead the two countries toward national rejuvenation.

President Xi pointed out that certain forces in the world are trying to meddle in the internal affairs of China and Russia under the pretext of “democracy” and “human rights” and grossly trample on international law and universally recognized norms governing international relations. China and Russia need to launch more joint actions to uphold the security interests of the two sides more effectively. China and Russia need to step up coordination and collaboration in international affairs, be more vocal on global governance, come up with feasible solutions to the pandemic, climate change and other global issues, and firmly uphold international fairness and justice in the process of resolving international and regional hotspots. Efforts must be made to firmly reject hegemonic acts and the Cold War mentality under the disguise of “multilateralism” and “rules”.

President Xi pointed out that since last year, China and Russia have actively conducted cooperation against COVID-19. Such efforts provide good examples of solidarity and mutual assistance in this bilateral relationship. They also contribute significantly to promoting a united, global response to the pandemic and to building a global community of health for all. The two sides need to be more resourceful and work together to introduce more concrete measures aimed at unclogging “bottlenecks” while strictly preventing cross-border transmission. China is ready for closer cooperation with Russia on COVID-19 testing and on research and development of vaccines and drugs.

President Xi pointed out the need for the two sides to share in opportunities of development under the new circumstances and make the pie of cooperation bigger. It is important to seize opportunities of the new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation, and accelerate cooperation in frontier technologies. China and Russia have a strong foundation and great complementarity in energy cooperation. The two sides need to build on their traditional energy cooperation, pursue more cooperation in new energy, advance the cooperation package in nuclear energy, and explore new cooperation areas such as renewable energy.

President Xi talked about the Global Development Initiative he proposed at the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly in September. This is another global public good that China offers in response to market challenges facing all parties, especially emerging markets and developing countries, and in an effort to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. China will work closely with Russia to play a role in improving global governance and promoting global development.

On regional cooperation, President Xi said that over the past 20 years since the establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), China and Russia have maintained a high level of strategic coordination and worked with other SCO member states to firmly follow the Shanghai spirit, to keep enhancing solidarity and mutual trust, and to deepen cooperation in all fields. The two sides need to support SCO member states in steadily advancing important domestic political agenda, and reject interference in the domestic affairs of regional countries by external forces under whatever pretexts.The two sides need to keep the development of the SCO on the right course, and follow the path of solidarity and cooperation, common security, openness and integration, mutual learning, and fairness and justice. China will continue to carry out flexible and diverse cooperation with Russia and other member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization to safeguard security and stability in the region.

On BRICS cooperation, President Xi pointed out that next year, China will take overthe BRICS presidencyand host the 14th BRICS Summit and other events. China will maintain a high level of strategic coordination with Russia, and encourage BRICS countries to deepen cooperation across the board. It is important to act on true multilateralism, support the multilateral trading system, and build an open world economy. It is important to focus on practical cooperation, deepen cooperation in public health, and expand the “BRICS Plus”model to benefit more through BRICS cooperation. President Xi shared his confidence that with the concerted efforts of China and Russia, next year’s BRICS cooperation will surely yield positive results.

On cooperation at the UN Security Council, President Xi pointed out that under current circumstances, it is necessary for the five permanent members of the Security Council to strengthen coordination on deepening cooperation against the coronavirus, upholding international peace and security and promoting economic recovery, and actively respond to the common expectation of the international community. China will stay in close communication with Russia.

The two sides exchanged views on major-country relations and on democracy. President Xi stressed that democracy is a lofty aspiration and common value of all humanity and also a right enjoyed by people of all countries. Whether a country is democratic or not and how to better realize democracy can only be left to its own people to decide. International affairs should be managed by all countries through consultation. Promoting greater democracy in international relations and upholding true multilateralism is the expectation of the people and the prevailing trend of the times. China will enhance communication and coordination with Russia to encourage the international community to take the right view on democracy and defend the legitimate democratic rights of all countries.

President Putin said that the Russia-China relationship is at its best in history with a high degree of strategic mutual trust. It has set an example for delivering mutual benefit on the basis of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs and mutual respect for each other’s interests. It can be hailed as a model of state-to-state relations in the 21st century. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the signing of theTreaty of Good-neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation, and the two sides have officially announced the renewal of the Treaty. Overcoming the impact of COVID-19, the two sides have maintained close interactions, made steady progress in practical cooperation in all areas including trade, energy and science and technology, and conducted communication and coordination on international and regional issues. The strategic coordination between Russia and China has served as a major positive factor in effectively resolving all sorts of international hotspots and in safeguarding world peace, playing an important role in maintaining the international order underpinned by international law. President Putin said he looks forward to visiting China soon and attending the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics, and reaffirmed Russia’s consistent opposition to attempts at politicizing sports. He expressed his hope of having an in-depth exchange of views with President Xi on major issues of mutual interest to promote the sustained and high-level development of Russia-China relations. Russia will continue to strengthen cooperation with China in such fields as economy and trade, oil and gas, finance, and aerospace and aviation and in major projects of strategic importance, and will promote greater synergy between the Eurasian Economic Union and the Belt and Road Initiative. Russia will work more closely with China to fight COVID-19 and oppose the politicization of the pandemic; and will further strengthen cultural and people-to-people exchanges with China and ensure the success of the Year of Sports Exchange in the next two years.Russia will be the most staunch supporter ofthe Chinese government’s legitimate position onTaiwan-related issues. It will firmly opposemoves by any force to undermine China’s interests using Taiwan-related issues, andmoves to form any type of “small groups” in the Asia-Pacific region. No attempt to sow discord between Russia and China will ever succeed. Russia will work with China to continue deepening close coordination in the SCO, the UN Security Council and other multilateral arena, and will support China’s BRICS presidency next year. Russia firmly rejects attempts to meddle in the internal affairs of Russia and China or to contain the legitimate development interests of the two countries. It is committed to upholding international fairness and justice and to maintaining strategic security and stability in the world. Russia is ready for more communication with China on defending true democratic rights and interests of all countries.

The two sides also exchanged views on other international and regional issues of mutual interest.

The two Presidents agreed to meet in Beijing in February next year.

Ding Xuexiang, Wang Yi and He Lifeng were present at the meeting.