Vladimir Putin started his official visit to China
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s official visit to Beijing started on December 1. On account of this fact, the attention of the Chinese media to Russia has increased considerably. There have appeared several publications covering the perspectives of joint economic cooperation. The official Xinhua news agency reported on the monument to the great Russian writer and poet Alexander Pushkin in Shanghai. The English version of People’s Daily website published an article under the headline “China-Russian Relations Remain Better Than Russian-US Ties.” These are just a few examples of the news stories that can now be found in the Chinese media.
The People’s Daily newspaper also published a detailed article on the interview that Vladimir Putin gave to Chinese journalists. The article makes it clear: the interview was presumably devoted to the issues of foreign politics, particularly the issue of former USSR republics being incorporated in NATO. By implication, President Putin rejected the commentary, which had been previously published on the People’s Daily. The article affirmed that Moscow has no reaction to NATO’s further eastwards expansion.
Putin stated during his conversation with Chinese journalists that such a military bloc as NATO should not expand under the conditions of the current global situation. In the opinion of the Russian president, this expansion does nothing to overcome international terrorism or nuclear weapons issues. However, he said that any sovereign state is entitled to define its foreign policy, including the issue of membership in various organizations. Putin stated that Russia does not currently wish to join NATO, although Moscow does not exclude further cooperation with the bloc. Cooperation might become possible if the bloc begins to change its functions and its activities coincide with Russia’s national interests.
It goes without saying that the interview highlighted the relations between Russia and China. Questions and answers help to foresee the subjects of the official negotiations in Beijing. Speaking about trade and economic links, Putin emphasized cooperation in military and energy fields. The Russian president stressed that the two countries should strengthen coordination in the most important political problems, such as stability in the world and non-proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.
Judging by the text that was published in the People’s Daily, the interview did not touch upon topical subjects, such as the coming US aggression against Iraq, or the unexampled growth of American dominance in the world. However, the tone of the interview allows one to hope that these questions will not be ignored during the Beijing summit. There is the hope that the participants of the summit will seek to create a counterbalance to US ambition, despite the current willingness to maintain good relations with the “bully.”
The Chinese media reported on an opinion poll that recently took place in Russia. The results of the poll show that 42% of Russian respondents have a positive opinion of China. The percentage of Russians whose attitude towards China is negative is only 12%. Sixty-seven percent think that economic development in China is more preferable than in Russia. Seventy-three percent think that Russia’s role in global affairs higher than China’s.
Andrey Krushinsky PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov