The Weakness and Strength of Beijing Talks

Russia and China singed a declaration

The list of the documents that determine the form and content of the relations between Russia and China will now be added with one more paper. This is the joint declaration of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China. The document was signed on December 2 in Beijing by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Jiang Zemin.

The text of the document allows to judge both the state of relations between the two countries and the situation in Russia-China-USA “triangle.” The declaration also provides the material to forecast several international events in the future. The preamble of the document sets out the determination to move forward, to expand and deepen the relations of strategic partnership between the two countries, to realize the great strategic idea of being “good neighbors, good friends, good partners forever, but never enemies.”

This statement is not unsubstantiated. It is supported with mutual obligations to solve several problems that hamper the mutual confidence strengthening. The document particularly runs: “To find the mutually-acceptable solution of the issue pertaining to the state borderline between Russia and China on the two parts that have not been coordinated yet; to expand the cooperation in terms of illegal immigration; to take measures for strengthening the cooperation and amending the adequate legal base in the field of ecology and environmental protection, paying attention to the environmental collaboration in border areas.”

Another important statement of the declaration runs: “The heads of Russia and China highlight the cooperation between the two countries concerning strategic stability issues for the sake of improving the international security, as well as for the global and regional stability.” The declaration repeatedly mentions the thesis concerning Russia’s and China’s adherence to the ideals of the multi-polar world.

However, the specific character of the present time showed its influence on this document. The wording of its statements allows to read between the lines that both Russia and China made up with the unipolarity of the world. Furthermore, the two countries are ready to adjust their policies to this.

“Serious and complicated changes take place in the international situation after the events of September 11th, 2001. International terrorism and other kinds of unconventional challenge imperil the international peace and security.” This statement of the declaration fits the neo-supremacist concepts of the Republican administration of the United States. Yet, there might be something else implied in “other kinds of unconventional challenge.” It might be Bush’s supremacy zeal. “The sides invariably stick to their position about Iraq: the Iraqi issue can be settled thoroughly and completely only with political and diplomatic means, as well as on the ground of strict observation of the UN Security Council resolutions.” It deems that the writers of the declaration didn’t have the nerve to say what millions of Arabs, Russians, Chinese, Britons say: the military solution of the Iraqi issue is unacceptable.

To all appearance, the obscurity of the declaration’s wording regarding the mutual concern of potential ABM systems deployment in East Asia (on a bloc basis) is not incidental either. The only thing that might raise a little indignation overseas touches upon North Korea: “The sides believe that the preservation of the non-nuclear status of the Korean Peninsula is important for the fate of the world and for the security in North-Eastern Asia. The non-proliferation regime is very relevant too, so, in this context, the sides emphasize the extreme importance of the normalization of relations between the USA and North Korea by means of gradual observance of previously achieved agreements, including the Framework agreement of 1994 and a constructive dialogue for the regulation of mutual concerns.”

This statement does not contain a direct support of North Korea’s suggestion to conclude a non-aggression treaty with the USA. Yet, Pyongyang is put on the same level with Washington, and the North Korean “concern” is equated with the American one.

Thus, on the one hand, it is obvious that the diplomacy of both China and Russia personifies reasonable and peaceful tendencies. On the other hand, it can be seen that the foreign political priority for the two countries is the relations with the saber-rattling USA. This is the priority for Russia and China after the tragic events of September 11th. The bilateral ties between Russia and China went into the background. Anyway, Vladimir Putin’s visit to Beijing will probably improve the tendency of Russia and China’s slide to the track of the American politics. We would like to believe that the current contacts will give more boldness to the leaders of the two powers for the opposition with the American supremacy.

Andrey Krushinsky

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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Author`s name Olga Savka