China should work more closely with Russia on security to counter Japan, a state-run Chinese newspaper said yesterday after Moscow and Beijing signed a huge natural-gas deal.
Russian President Vladimir Putin paid a state visit to China this week, launching joint naval exercises and witnessing the signing of an agreement for Russia to supply the world’s second-biggest economy with natural gas in a deal valued at US$400 billion.
The 30-year contract represents a turn to Beijing by Moscow at a moment when its geo-political assertiveness, particularly the takeover of Crimea, has been heavily criticized by the West, which accuses it of fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine.
“The complicated political and security challenges still haunting the world demand that the two global heavyweights also work more closely together to safeguard the international order and world stability,” the China Daily newspaper said in an editorial.
“Cooperation between the two countries in this area is particularly necessary amid alarming attempts by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to trample over World War II history and disrupt the post-war order,” it said.
Beijing and Tokyo have a long-running feud over disputed islands in the East China Sea, and have frequently fallen out over differing interpretations of Japan’s military actions in China in the 1930s and 1940s.
Moscow and Beijing, Cold War allies, both veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council, have often worked together to counter the US on a range of issues.
“Closer China-Russia cooperation is a requirement for achieving common development and promoting a fairer international system,” the China Daily said.
During his trip to China, Putin called for boosting bilateral trade to US$100 billion by next year, up from nearly US$90 billion last year, through cooperation in the aviation, aerospace, manufacturing and energy sectors.