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China and Russia: A new wave in bilateral cooperation

By Anastasia Sukhoretskaya | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-07-23 15:41

Since 2014, when Russia abruptly shifted its policy eastwards, China has been viewed as Russia’s core partner. Many projects that were initially planned to be implemented in Western Europe and North America also changed their vector towards the East and countries like China, South Korea, and Japan. But, undoubtedly, China has become more active in the eastern region in recent years than other Asian countries. With China’s innovative and business-like attitude, it has been the number one economic partner for Russia for the whole seven years.

During these years, the frequency of official meetings between the two countries’ leaders has increased which suggests that the bilateral relations are at their highest.

Since then, China and Russia have been gradually strengthening their mutual ties. During the last visit of China’s high ranking officials to Russia, several agreements were signed in a range of areas such as culture, politics, the economy and social matters. The two sides have agreed to focus on an economic partnership. It is well known that China is Russia's number one partner in terms of international trade. Year-on-year, the trade turnover between two countries increases, but it is still desirable to attract more potential investors from China. Russia has a lot to offer to China. It has vast natural resources and land which can be exploited for the benefit of both Russia and China.

One of the most discussed projects today is the Belt and Road Initiative. When the project was officially announced in Kazakhstan and then launched, Russia was among the first countries that expressed its eager support. Nowadays, all major projects between Russia and China are implemented under the Belt and Road Initiative. Moreover, in 2015, Russia’s and China’s leaders discussed the possibility of integrating the Eurasian Economic Union into the B&R Initiative. The countries in EAEU have also expressed their support and eagerness as the B&R Initiative will benefit the economic development of these countries, resulting in establishing peace and stability in the region.

The educational cooperation between Russia and China is also flourishing, as the number of exchange students grows each year. For now, there are numerous scholarships, both in Russia and in China, that allow students to get education partially or fully exempt from fees.

It is crucial for China and Russia to have good ties, as the two countries, being neighbors and both of strong geopolitical importance to each other, are involved in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Belt and Road Initiative and BRICS. In Eurasia, Russia and China relations determine the development of the whole region. Hopefully, the friendship between the two countries has a long-term tendency and will have a positive impact not only on the Eurasian region, but also globally.

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