Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin yesterday hailed “unprecedented” relations with China despite sanctions pressure from the West as he met with his counterpart in Beijing.
Mishustin arrived in China on Monday, attending a business forum in Shanghai on Tuesday before traveling to Beijing to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) and Chinese Premier Li Qiang (李強).
It is the highest-level visit by a Russian official to China since Moscow invaded Ukraine last year.
“Today, relations between Russia and China are at an unprecedented high level,” Mishustin told Li after a welcoming ceremony outside Beijing’s Great Hall of the People. “They are characterized by mutual respect of each other’s interests, the desire to jointly respond to challenges, which is associated with increased turbulence in the international arena and the pressure of illegitimate sanctions from the collective West.”
Li hailed the “comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between China and Russia in the new era.”
“I believe your trip to China this time will definitely leave a deep impression,” he said.
Li said that bilateral trade had already reached US$70 billion so far this year.
“This is a year-on-year increase of more than 40 percent,” he said. “The scale of investment between the two countries is also continuously upgrading. Strategic large-scale projects are steadily advancing.”
Following the talks, ministers signed a series of agreements on service trade cooperation and sports, as well as on patents and Russian millet exports to China.
Mishustin is in China with top officials, including Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, who handles energy policy.
China last year became Russia’s top energy customer as Moscow’s gas exports otherwise plummeted due to a flurry of Western sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.
Russian state media reported that Novak on Tuesday told a forum in Shanghai that Russian energy supplies to China would increase by 40 percent year-on-year this year.
Analysts say that China holds the upper hand in the relationship with Russia and that its sway is growing as Moscow’s international isolation deepens.
The leaders of both countries are “brought together more by shared grievances and insecurities than by shared goals,” said Ryan Hass, a senior fellow at Washington’s Brookings Institution and a former White House official. “They both resent and feel threatened by Western leadership in the international system and believe their countries should be given greater deference on issues implicating their own interests.”
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