China Pledges to Strengthen Ties with Russia Despite Sanctions

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China is willing to share development opportunities and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation with Russia, a top Chinese official quoted by state news agency Xinhua as saying on Tuesday. Vice Premier Zhang Guoqing, who led a delegation to attend an economic forum in Vladivostok, said that “Russia and China have maintained a high level of strategic partnership,” with cooperation in various fields gaining momentum. “This leaves the West shocked,” he added, referring to Western efforts to restrain China’s rise as a global power.

During his visit, Zhang also met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to a statement released by the Kremlin, the two discussed the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era. They agreed that both countries oppose using military force against one another and against third parties. The statement said the two sides also support “harmonious settlement of regional issues” and advocate respect for each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The two sides also needed a “full, comprehensive, and timely exchange of views on major international issues of common concern.” They emphasized that the two countries should cooperate to protect their peoples’ and other nations’ legitimate rights and interests.

On the security front, China and Russia have sought to cooperate on missile defense and anti-submarine warfare and have agreed to cooperate in reprocessing spent fuel rods from nuclear reactors. The two countries have also boosted military-to-military exchanges.

However, the broader context of Russia-China ties is complicated because Moscow has supported Beijing’s draconian policies toward Tibet, Hong Kong, and Xinjiang and its disputed claims in the South China Sea. Beijing has also primarily refrained from criticizing Russia’s military actions in Chechnya, Georgia, and Syria.

In addition, the United States and EU have isolated Russia’s banks from Western financial institutions, raising barriers to trading in rubles or euros making it harder for them to settle trade. As a result, China and Russia increasingly use local currencies for bilateral trade settlement.

In the future, he said, both countries will continue to promote bilateral strategic cooperative partnerships based on their respective national advantages and further enhance political trust and strategic coordination. The two countries will also continue supporting each other’s core interests and global peace and stability. He added that they will be long-term partners, no matter how the international landscape changes. This feature is part of an ongoing series on Sino-Russian relations. Click here to read the other stories in the series. The author is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and has previously served as an Associate Professor of International Affairs at American University in Washington, D.C., and as an Assistant Professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. He is a regular contributor to The Globalist. Follow him on Twitter @abrahammanafi. Image courtesy of AFP/Getty Images.


Brielle Duddy is a freelance writer and editor with a background in journalism. She has written for a variety of publications, with a passion for exploring the intersection of technology and society. Brielle is passionate about social justice and equality, and her writing often focuses on these issues. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, practicing yoga, and exploring the vibrant cultural scene in her hometown of Los Angeles.

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