China and Russia agreed last week to lift their relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era, opening a new stage of bilateral cooperation conducive to global stability and prosperity.
Seven decades after its establishment, the China-Russia diplomatic relationship has reached its highest level in history under the strategic leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. Now that the two leaders have decided to once again elevate their countries’ ties, the pair of neighbouring large countries are poised to open up a new chapter of bilateral cooperation for greater accomplishments.
In the new era of bilateral ties, China and Russia will cooperate more closely in a broader range of areas with greater depth. The two countries have an overlapping development strategy, which allows them to work together on major projects, along the border regions and even across the whole Eurasia.
China and Russia have different advantages in natural resources and technologies, and their economies are highly complementary, which can translate into a substantial increase in trade and investment in coming years. Bilateral trade surged 27.1 per cent in 2018 to hit a record of 107.1 billion U.S. dollars, the highest growth rate among China’s top 10 trading partners. Analysts expect the strong momentum to continue and the trade volume to double in the near future. Strategic projects in traditional fields of energy, aerospace and interconnectivity have made solid progress. Cooperation in such sectors as agriculture, finance, science and technology, and e-commerce has developed rapidly. The first ship carrying liquefied natural gas from Russia’s Yamal Peninsula in the Arctic traversed the sea to China last summer, and millions of tonnes more are expected to be supplied every year thanks to the project partly financed by China.
A second line of the China-Russia oil pipeline began commercial operation in 2018, and the east-route natural gas pipeline is expected to supply gas to China by the end of this year. The Tongjiang railway bridge and the Heihe highway bridge will be completed this year to make cross-border transportation much easier. The booming China-Russia relationship is also bringing the two peoples closer.