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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

30.09.2019

Sergey Lavrov's article “A Forward-Looking Partnership” for Rossiyskaya Gazeta and Renmin Ribao

This year, our countries are marking an important date: the 70th anniversary of our diplomatic relations.

On October 2, 1949, the Soviet Union became the first country to recognise the People’s Republic of China, on the very next day after it was established. In our country, a new China gained a reliable friend that supported it in its nation-building efforts and economic recovery, and helped consolidate its international standing.

Of course, our people share ties that go back centuries. We have been learning to understand each other, work together and be friends for a very long time. As a result, today we have achieved an unprecedented level of cooperation that can be described as a comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation. In June 2019, during the state visit by PRC President Xi Jinping to Russia, our two leaders announced a new era in Russia-China relations, paving the way to even more mutual support across the board.

Where does this success stem from? It is primarily attributable to the fact that our cooperation is rooted in the universally recognised norms of international law that are free from any ideology. Our cooperation has its own inherent value and is not directed against anyone. We do not impose our approaches or values on one another, let alone meddle in each other’s domestic affairs. We have succeeded in putting aside sensitive issues of our common past, leaving them to the discretion of historians. The border question has been settled for good. Today, the dialogue between Russia and China can be defined as mutually respectful interactions between two equal partners. This dialogue is actually more advanced than some formal alliances, judging by the level of mutual trust, the resilience and depth of our cooperation.

We have much to be proud of. The two countries have developed a vast and forward-looking legal framework for their relations, built around the Treaty of Good-Neighbourliness, Friendship and Cooperation of July 16, 2001 as its cornerstone.

A multi-layered architecture of interstate interactions has been put in place, and has proven to be highly resilient and capable of effectively resolving the most complex problems. The meetings between the heads of state are at the centre of this architecture, and rightly so. Every year, four or five top-level meetings take place as part of mutual visits, as well as on the sidelines of the leading international forums.

Regular meetings between our heads of government play a key role in expanding trade, economic and cultural cooperation. Five intergovernmental commissions, co-chaired by deputy prime ministers, as well as a number of interagency sub-commissions and working groups operate as part of this framework.

There is also a permanent Interparliamentary Commission for Cooperation between the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and the National People's Congress of China. Close contacts have been established between the Presidential Executive Office of the Russian Federation and the General Office of the Communist Party of China’s Central Committee. Consultations between senior officials on strategic security and public safety, public order and justice are held annually.

This intensive dialogue at all levels yields meaningful results. The PRC is Russia’s biggest trade and economic partner. Last year, trade between our countries hit a record high of $108 billion. Energy cooperation has reached a strategic level, including in terms of building cross-border oil and gas pipelines, the peaceful use of nuclear energy, LNG production, as well as coal and energy exports from Russia. Deliveries of Russian natural gas via pipelines to the PRC are set to begin on December 1. This will be yet another ambitious bilateral undertaking, adding to the Skovorodino-Mohe oil pipeline, which has been operating successfully for the past nine years.

Major projects serve as an impetus for stepping up mutual investment that has great potential. Cooperation in high-technology sectors, including civil aviation and space, deserve special attention. In 2020 and 2021, Russia-China cross-years of cooperation in science and technology, and innovation will be held. Broad opportunities are emerging for promoting trade in agricultural products. Neither Russia, nor our Chinese friends have any intention to be complacent. We are set to expand and deepen our economic ties.

Humanitarian cooperation is gaining momentum. Contacts in culture, education, tourism, sports and other spheres facilitate the consolidation of the people-to-people dimension of Russia-China relations, helping strengthen friendship and mutual understanding between the two peoples.

Inter-regional exchanges are picking up steam. The Year of Russia-China Inter-Regional Cooperation is currently underway. This is a truly grand undertaking. The Intergovernmental Russian-Chinese Commission for Cooperation and Development of the Far East and Baikal Region of Russia and Northeast China is up and running. There is fruitful cooperation in the Volga-Yangtze format between the regions of the Volga Federal District and Chinese provinces along the Upper and Middle Reaches of the Yangtze River. Efforts are underway to explore opportunities for establishing new inter-regional cooperation mechanisms between Central Russia and northern China, and between Russia’s northwest and coastal provinces in China’s southeast. This regional level dialogue will not only supplement and enrich the contacts between our countries, but also generate substantial economic returns.

The high level of mutual trust facilitates steady progress in military and military-technical cooperation. This includes regular visits by senior commanders, and holding joint military exercises. Trade in arms and military equipment is carried out in strict compliance with all international legal norms.

Close foreign policy coordination is an inherent part of Russia-China strategic partnership. It has become a major stability factor in global and regional affairs. Today, with the challenges the world is facing, we are witnessing persistent attempts to dismantle the architecture of security and strategic stability that took shape after World War II, while substituting international law with some kind of a rule-based order. Against this backdrop, there is no doubt that our combined efforts are highly relevant. Moreover, our efforts are underpinned not just by converging or close approaches to the key problems of humanity, but by our firm commitment to building a multipolar world order that would be more just, sustainable and democratic, while rooted in the inviolable principles of the UN Charter.

We are strongly against any attempts to impose one’s will on sovereign countries or to resolve problems through threats, blackmail or by force, rather than around a negotiating table. This is what underpins our effective cooperation in various multilateral settings, including within the United Nations, the Group of Twenty, as well as associations of a new kind, such as BRICS and the SCO. The joint statements that were adopted in June following talks between the heads of state in Moscow are designed to serve as an essential foundation for better coordinating the work of Russian and Chinese diplomatic services. These include the Joint Statement on Developing Comprehensive Partnership and Strategic Interaction Entering a New Era, as well as a statement on strengthening modern day global strategic stability.

Amid growing interdependence in the age of globalisation, and as new global centres of gravity emerge and gain ground, there is a need for non-conventional, innovative approaches. Today, the steady advancement of various integration processes has become a sign of the times. In this regard, the Eurasian Economic Union provides a telling example, since it has come a long way within a short period of time, from removing customs barriers to building a common market for goods, services, capital and labour. The expansion of EAEU’s international contacts and the fact that more and more countries are seeking to sign free-trade agreements with it testify to the success of this integration project.

We are well aware that our Chinese friends are also working hard on ensuring stability and prosperity across Eurasia as part of the Belt and Road Initiative. Four years ago, our countries’ leaders agreed to work on aligning the EAEU and the Silk Road Economic Belt. Today, this decision is being implemented. An important step was made with the signing in May 2018 of the Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation between the EAEU and the PRC. It is about to enter into force.

Therefore, the EAEU and the BRI are becoming complementary. Further efforts to harmonise their operations will lay the ground for building a new inclusive geopolitical framework in Eurasia that would be open to all countries and integration associations without exception. This is what the well-known initiative put forward by President Vladimir Putin to build a Greater Eurasian Partnership is all about. We proceed from the premise that consistent efforts to implement this ambitious undertaking in the spirit of the “integration of integrations” concept would not only promote steady economic growth at the national level, including in our countries, but will also substantially enhance security, stability and predictability across the vast reaches stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Over the past seven decades, the PRC experienced dramatic changes in all spheres of life. Today’s Russia has also changed in significant ways. At the same time, the two nations continue strengthening their relations of neighbourliness, friendship and cooperation, and exploring new horizons. The potential of this bilateral partnership is truly inexhaustible. We intend to keep advancing alongside our Chinese partners by doing everything it takes to elevate our cooperation to new levels for the benefit of our people, and in the name of establishing the ideals of truth and justice around the world. I strongly believe that the celebration of 70 years of diplomatic relations will help to step up our friendly and mutually beneficial dialogue in all spheres without exception.




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Mr Chairperson-in-Office, Mr Secretary General, Ladies and Gentlemen, First of all, allow me to thank Slovakia’s Chairmanship for its hospitality. Here in Bratislava, where Western and Eastern Europe meet, we are reminded that the purpose of our organisation is to facilitate the emergence of shared security through cooperation, as well as the removal of dividing lines and the growth of mutual trust. The goal adopted at the 2010 Astana summit of building a community of equal, comprehensive and indivisible security should remain our utmost priority. Today, CSTO foreign ministers adopted a statement to this effect, reaffirming their commitment to this objective.


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Mr Mnatsakanyan, First of all, I would like thank our Armenian friends for the invitation on behalf of my delegation and myself, for the very cordial welcome and substantive negotiations that began today with a meeting with Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan and continued at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


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Ladies and gentlemen, We have held constructive, substantive and very detailed talks with OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger. This is his second visit to Moscow this year. We welcome the regular nature of our contacts.



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