Upgraded full partnership

The 2014 upgraded full partnership 

The New Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement of May, 2014 was signed by Presidents Putin and Xi Jinping.

Although the previous 2010/2012 Strategic Partnership, signed by Presidents Hu Jintao and Vladimir Putin, was intended to provide the basis for implementation of relations over a ten-year period, it was prematurely superseded by the 2014 agreement calling for a new stage in the comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation. The involvement of President Xi, who came to power in 2013, a year after Putin’s re-election as Russian president, has become a key driver in the intensification of bilateral relations.

The 2014 Agreement, ratified shortly after Russia’s annexation (reunification) of Crimea, amid the launch of the US and EU sanctions against Russia, is widely regarded as the most enhanced in terms of depth and breadth of economic, political, and security relations of any one of China’s or Russia’s network of strategic partnerships. The scope and extent of cooperation can be detected on established regular, high-level summits and exchange mechanisms at all levels.

Special relationship

China or Russia has nothing like this with any other country and globally, this is a rarity. The present phase since 2014 has seen ever-growing and deepening strategic cooperation between China and Russia, even insofar as some researchers are beginning to call this state as an alliance.

However, the question is complex and approaching more about “entente than alliance” for many obvious reasons. Such a special friendship has not been a matter of coincidence but is based on mutual interests and broad consensus. Chinese and Russian foreign policy analysts and researchers looked at the last years (2016-2019) as a period of continued progress for comprehensive bilateral relations and the strategic partnership between Russia and China.

Moscow and Beijing have repeatedly emphasized their respect for the right of states to choose their own path of development and socio-political system. Striving to preserve full sovereignty in decision-making, Russia and China are not military or political allies. Russia and China promote a multipolar world opposing unilateral actions and support the strengthening of the UN’s central role in international affairs.

Moscow and Beijing conduct independent foreign policies that do not impinge on the other side’s national interests. However, the essence of these relations is the deep coordination of policies and the development of a concerted stance on constructing a new world order.

After the signing of the New Partnership agreement, the whole process of Sino-Russian cooperation seemed to step on the new level.

Close partnership ties between both nations have been significantly bolstered by the “personal factor,” as the leaders of Russia and China have proven to be quite at ease with each other. The presidents have met each other already 25 times in 2013-2018, the overall scope and frequency of cooperation covers directly tens of thousands of people on all levels of administrations and various organizations, both centrally and regionally, both public and private sector including citizen associations. Indirectly the question may be millions of people getting in touch with the Sino-Russian cooperation in both countries today.

The cooperation received a new impetus on both the domestic and foreign policy fronts in 2018.

The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) took place in October 2017, and the 13th National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China followed in March 2018 – the same month presidential elections were held in Russia.

The re-election of Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin as leaders of their countries reaffirms the countries’ commitment to the chosen course, in which the consistent strengthening of Russia–China cooperation in the bilateral and multilateral dimensions is an important foreign political component.

The development of ties between Moscow and Beijing is taking place against the background of alienation between Russia and the West and the growing tensions in China–US relations.

In early 2018, the already profound crisis in Russia’s relations with Europe and the United States was deepened with a new round of mutual accusations, additional sanctions against Russian businesses and individuals, mass expulsion of diplomats and growing divergence of positions on a number of global and regional issues, including approaches to the settlement of the Syrian crisis. Relations between Beijing and Washington are particularly tense as the possibility of a full-fledged trade war.

China’s leading newspaper (in English), Global Times, stated on 27th March 2018, official comments on so called “Sergei Skripal case” in UK and diplomatic deportations thereafter.

Comments are very descriptive of today’s Chinese attitudes towards the Western world and represent undoubtedly official position as well.

Excerpts from the article here below:

“On March 26, the US, Canada, NATO, and several European Union countries expelled Russian diplomats from their respective foreign embassies and consulates in retaliation against Russia’s alleged poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter. The British government did not provide evidence that linked Russia to the crime but was confident from the beginning there could be no other “reasonable explanation” for the attempted assassination. Great Britain was so convinced of their Russian theory, they wasted no time taking the lead in levying sanctions against the country by quickly expelling Russian diplomats from London. 

The fact that major Western powers can gang up and “sentence” a foreign country without following the same procedures other countries abide by and according to the basic tenets of international law is chilling. During the Cold War, not one Western nation would have dared to make such a provocation and yet today it is carried out with unrestrained ease. It is beyond outrageous how the US and Europe have treated Russia. Their actions represent a frivolity and recklessness that has grown to characterize Western hegemony that only knows how to contaminate international relations.

What Russia is experiencing right now could serve as a reflection of how other non-Western nations can expect to be treated in the not-too-distant future. Such measures are not supported by international law and are therefore unjustified. More importantly, the international community should have the tools and means to counterbalance such actions. Right now, is the perfect time for non-Western nations to strengthen unity and collaborative efforts among one another. These nations need to establish a level of independence outside the reach of Western influence while breaking the chains of monopolization declarations, predetermined adjudications, and come to value their own judgement abilities. 

On April 1, 2018 Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe had a visit to Russia. Wei characterized his visit to Russia as signaling the close military affiliation between Moscow and Beijing, suggesting that this was tied to mutual concerns about the United States. Wei said:

“I am visiting Russia as the new defense minister of China to show the world the high level of development of our bilateral relations, and firm determination of our armed forces to strengthen strategic cooperation” – and to “let the Americans know about the close ties between the armed forces of China and Russia.”

Multiple agreements, enlarging cooperation

 Presidents Xi Jinping and Putin met on June 8, 2018 in Beijing, both men stressing the value of a strategic partnership amid faltering relations with the US. Moscow is increasingly looking to China for investment after a sharp decline in relations with the West. China is seeking allies amid growing criticism of its militarization of the South China Sea and continued accusations of human rights breaches and unfair trade practices.

This meeting saw the signing of multiple agreements on oil and gas development, nuclear power, space, science, finance,as well as promises to deepen strategic cooperation and coordination in the face of a complex international situation. Other subjects included the cooperation in the UN, joint stand against unilateral economic sanctions and against the violation of the strategic balance in the sphere of missile defense as well as joint stand in favor of international cooperation against terrorism.

The mutual trade flourishes reaching the $ 100 billion level in 2018 and estimates tell $ 200 billion will be reached by the latest in 2024. This boom is based on huge energy treaties and new projects in oil and gas sectors including other mineral deposits, new opening potentials in agriculture, combined procedures of China’s BRI and Russian EAEU (Eurasian cooperation), new and potential Arctic cooperation as well as opening new projects in the Russian Far East. The huge potential of economic cooperation is pushed ahead by external threats – sanctions and trade wars slapped by the US and EU and more and more by the internal dynamics of cooperation, perceived synergies and mutually accepted convergence.

In the security and military sectors, the strategic cooperation is broadening and strengthening along with the increasing pressure from the US side.

The US and NATO operations in European theater as well as the US operation in the Asian-Pacific are apt to wrap up the military cooperation between China and Russia in all important spheres: military drills and exercises, arms sales and military technical cooperation as well as high level military staff contacts and military planning. China and Russia have perceived that the attitude of the Trump Administration against two other great powers, support the efforts to further enlarge their own mutual cooperation in military and security affairs.