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updated 6:26 AM UTC, Jul 24, 2017

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s article “Looking into the future with optimism: On the 15th anniversary of the Russian-Chinese Treaty of Good-Neighbourliness, Friendship and Cooperation,” published in People's Daily on July 18, 2016

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On July 16, we mark an event of signal importance: Fifteen years ago, the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China signed the Treaty of Good-Neighbourliness, Friendship and Cooperation, which opened a new page in our bilateral relations.

The treaty crowned the dynamic development of bilateral relations in the 1990s, which entered a stage of strategic partnership looking into the 21st century. The treaty formalised a fundamentally new quality of our relations and set out long-term goals of further strengthening them. Importantly, it helped settle a highly delicate border issue, documented the absence of mutual territorial claims, and provided the political and legal framework for the demarcation of the Russian-Chinese border along its entire length. The hundreds of bilateral documents that were subsequently prepared based on the treaty provisions have created a reliable and effective system for regulating bilateral relations in all areas.

The high level of mutual trust and understanding that has developed between our countries allows us to act in concert on a broad range of issues and to attain the most difficult objectives. Our intensive political dialogue and regular contacts in all areas add stability to the architecture of Russian-Chinese relations.

We have created a unique system of cooperation between all branches of power, parties and public organisations, business communities, and research, culture and educational establishments. We have developed a special system for relations between our parliaments. We hold consultations on strategic security and cooperation in the areas of law and order, security and justice. We regularly conduct joint military and naval exercises.

The effectiveness of our cooperation based on the treaty provisions has been reaffirmed by the results of President of Russia Vladimir Putin’s official visit to China on June 25, 2016.  The heads of Russia and China held an in-depth exchange of opinions on all the key issues of the bilateral and international agenda and boosted the development of comprehensive and trust-based partnership and strategic cooperation.

 

Three joint declarations were signed during this visit. One covers common approaches to current international and regional issues, and the other two focus on the need to strengthen global strategic stability and on cooperation in the development of the information space.

Special attention was given, of course, to the 15th anniversary of the Treaty of Good-Neighbourliness, Friendship and Cooperation and its role in the development of bilateral relations. It was noted that the signing of the treaty had resolved all political issues that could darken the atmosphere of Russian-Chinese partnership.

It is of crucial importance that we use the treaty as a guide to action in our everyday work. We adopt joint plans for the implementation of this treaty every four years. This helps us develop multifaceted trade and economic cooperation and overcome problems created by global market instability. Russia and China are developing a strategic energy alliance that will promote international energy security. We are also working consistently to expand our financial, innovation, investment and high-tech cooperation and to bolster inter-regional ties.

We are proud of the considerable progress we have achieved in cultural cooperation. The intensity of our cultural and educational ties has grown many times over. We have launched the Russia-China Media Exchange Year 2016-2017 to deepen partner relations between our journalistic communities. This helps us strengthen mutual understanding and friendship between our peoples and the social basis of bilateral relations. It is especially pleasing that young people form the vanguard group, because the future of relations between our countries will be determined by young people.

Russia and China also use the treaty provisions for interaction on the international stage. The treaty says that Russia and China stand consistently for strict compliance with the universal principles and norms of international law and against any attempt to use force to bring pressure to bear on others or to interfere in the internal affairs of a sovereign state under any pretext. We have been working energetically together to maintain peace and stability and to further develop cooperation in the interests of a fairer world order without dictate and domination.

Under the treaty, Russia and China believe that law must be the central pillar of international relations, the common space of equal and indivisible security and economic cooperation. This shared view has been incorporated in the declaration on strengthening the role of international law, which the foreign ministers of Russia and China signed at the summit in Beijing.

Our countries have been working together to boost Eurasian integration processes. Much has been done to implement the joint declaration on cooperation in coordinating the development of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the Silk Road Economic Belt, which was signed at the Russian-Chinese summit meeting in Moscow in May 2015. As it was announced during President Putin’s visit to Beijing, talks will be held to coordinate an agreement on trade and economic cooperation between the EAEU and China. This is a major step towards developing an open, transparent and comprehensive Eurasian partnership.

During the signing of the treaty in 2001, President Putin cited an old Chinese proverb, according to which a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Today, 15 years on, we have reason to be proud of our achievements. The treaty fully meets the fundamental interests of both nations and is an effective instrument for implementing them. It is also an example of the successful development of interstate relations of a new type in the 21st century.

Russia is firmly resolved to continue to implement the treaty and to deepen relations with China in many areas. We have the prerequisites for this, including political will, economic expediency and the same foreign policy priorities. I am confident that the treaty provides the basis for our countries to continue to strengthen Russian-Chinese friendship, good-neighbourliness and cooperation in an atmosphere of peace and accord and in the name of universal prosperity.

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