The Chinese will have to develop a passion for Russia during the forthcoming 12 months. Russian President Putin has recently arrived in China to open the Year of Russia: this is the first time Putin visits the most populated state of the world in 18 months. The president has personally launched the website that will provide the informational support for the event.
The capital of China, Beijing, is currently undergoing dramatic transformations. One can sense the spirit of imminent Olympic Games in the air of Beijing already. Chinese taxi drivers study English to be able to understand foreign tourists. Drivers try to learn most primitive English phrases which they listen to on audiotapes every day.
Vladimir Putin could also notice that the streets of Beijing have become a lot cleaner than they were before. Apparently, it is another initiative from the Chinese authorities to raise the level of civilization in the city. Social services have conducted a special research to find out most outrageous types of “uncivilized behaviour” in Beijing. The list of “revolting actions” included spitting on the ground, throwing garbage in the streets, making too much noise and swearing.
The government has immediately produced a manual about bringing up good manners in Beijing citizens. Chinese TV channels aired a short animated film called “30 Seconds of Civilization.” To complete the public propaganda of good behaviour the authorities decided to modernize all public toilets in Beijing and equip them with ultra-modern sanitaryware and even music units. To crown it all, Beijing toilets will be categorized on the hotel classification: the most gorgeous, civilized and expensive public conveniences will have four stars.
Putin’s first day of stay in China was marked with a sensational statement. The president said that Russia and China were working on a project of building a new pipeline system, provisionally called Altai. The new pipeline will be built from the Russian Federation across the western border of China. Once the system is ready, China will have a reliable fuel supplier, and the energy balance on the continent will obtain more stability.
Needless to say that China’s role in the world has been growing speedily during the recent years. Beijing’s geopolitical interests go far beyond the framework of bilateral relations with Russia. Russia is obviously interested in developing partnership with China, although the Russian business does not see China as a strategic partner. The commercial cooperation with Russia makes up only two percent in the structure of China's foreign trade turnover. A certain exception can be made for the Russian fuel industry, the development of the military and technical cooperation and the potential of scientific projects between the two countries. Russia does not view China as an economic priority either.
Putin’s current visit to China has a goal to find a new model of strategic partnership between Russia and China. The visit has been a success so far. As for the economic cooperation, China will continue searching for ways to access Russian energy resources. Russia in its turn needs to use China’s potential to spur up the development of East Siberia and Far East.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
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