From March 20 to 22, 2023, President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Russia at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Upon wrapping up the trip, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang briefed the accompanying press crew on the visit.
Qin Gang said that as China's "two sessions" have just successfully concluded, President Xi Jinping paid the state visit to Russia, raising the new curtain on China's head-of-state diplomacy for this year. At this special time of complex situations, the visit was substantive with rich connotations and fruitful outcomes. The visit was an important decision made by the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core from the perspectives of the overall situation of national development and the general picture of diplomatic strategies, and it showcased China's resolute commitment to an independent foreign policy of peace and an open mind to promote world peace. The visit has been closely followed internationally and it is commonly believed that President Xi Jinping's visit to Russia is an event of far-reaching significance for global geopolitics, shows China's international image as a peace builder, demonstrates China's role and responsibility as a responsible major country, and will inject more stability into complicated international situations and conduce to promoting a multi-polar world and greater democracy in international relations.
I. Stay committed to independence and defend international fairness and justice
Qin Gang said that the changes unseen in a century have been accelerated and the international structures of power have undergone profound adjustments. The historical trend of peace, development and win-win cooperation is unstoppable, while hegemonism, unilateralism and protectionism rampage, the Cold War mentality and bloc politics resurface, and the competition between the two trends and two paths has been more fierce. The world is entering a new period of turbulence and changes. As the two major countries in the world and permanent member states of the United Nations Security Council, how the China-Russia relationship goes bears on global strategic stability and security, as well as the future evolution of the world landscape. The more complex the international situation is, the more necessary it is for China and Russia to strengthen communication and coordination.
At the time of the visit, President Xi Jinping and President Vladimir Putin respectively published their signed articles and both describing the China-Russia strategic coordination as the pillar underpinning of safeguarding international peace and security. During the visit, the two Presidents had long-time and in-depth strategic communication on relevant major issues. President Xi Jinping emphasized that China pursues an independent foreign policy of peace, and always independently makes its own judgement based on the merits of the matter itself. Every country has its right to pursue a development path suited to its own national conditions. No country is superior to others, no model of governance is universal, and no single country should dictate the international order. The common interest of all humankind is in a world that is united and peaceful, rather than divided and volatile. China and Russia should work together to guide and promote global governance in a direction that meets the expectations of the international community, and advance the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. Both sides agreed that every country should carry forward the common values of humanity featuring peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom, advocate dialogue and inclusiveness over confrontation and exclusion, pursue harmonious coexistence and win-win cooperation, and promote world peace and development. The two sides will view and handle China-Russia relations with a broad vision and a long-term perspective, firmly safeguard the UN-centered international system, the international order underpinned by international law, and the basic norms governing international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, uphold true multilateralism, and promote a multi-polar world and greater democracy in international relations.
Qin Gang said that 10 years ago, President Xi Jinping, when delivering a speech at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, proposed for the first time the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind. Over the past 10 years, the vision has gained resonance and support from a growing number of countries. The evolution of the international situation has proven once again that only in sharing weal and woe and helping each other in solidarity and coordination will every country likely to resolve global challenges facing humanity. The principal contradiction in today's world is not at all a so-called "democracy versus autocracy" hyped up by certain countries, but a struggle between development and containment of development, and between justice and power politics. In the face of rampant unilateralism and hegemonism, it is all the more valuable for China and Russia to consolidate and strengthen strategic coordination. China and Russia are committed to promoting a multi-polar world and greater democracy in international relations, which meets the demand for upholding international fairness and justice and fits in well with building a community with a shared future for mankind. It represents the right direction of the progress of the times and the development of history, and goes beyond the bilateral relations and of global significance.
II. Stay committed to good neighborliness, and draw a blueprint for China-Russia relations
Qin Gang said it was Moscow that President Xi Jinping's first overseas visit destination after he took office as Chinese President in 2013. Ten years on, President Xi Jinping once again chose Russia as the first destination of his overseas visit in a new term of office. It was by no means a coincidence, but a political choice made after careful consideration. There is a profound historical logic for China-Russia relationship to reach where it is today. China and Russia are each other's biggest neighbor, and are committed to no-alliance, no-confrontation and not targeting any third party in developing the bilateral relationship. Adhering to mutual respect and mutual trust, China and Russia promote respective development and rejuvenation, and strive to safeguard international fairness and justice, setting a good example for a new model of major-country relations. Over the past ten years, President Xi Jinping and President Vladimir Putin have maintained close contact and firmly supported each other. After President Xi Jinping's reelection as General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee by the 20th CPC National Congress and Chinese President by China's "two sessions", President Putin lost no time to send his congratulatory messages. President Putin was never absent from the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and the opening ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 hosted by China. During the visit, President Xi Jinping noted that Russia will hold the presidential election next year, and under President Putin's strong leadership, Russia has made great progress in development and rejuvenation. President Xi expressed his confidence that the Russian people will give firm support to President Putin. The high-level mutual trust between the two heads of state has provided the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era with strategic guidance and a strong political guarantee.
During the visit, President Putin and President Xi Jinping had long, sincere, friendly and fruitful talks and exchanges, and the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and almost all members of the Cabinet of the Russian Federation participated in relevant events. The Russian side repeatedly expressed that President Xi Jinping choosing Russia as the first country of his overseas visit after his reelection fully reflects the distinctive nature of Russia-China relationship in the new era and is historically significant for the development of Russia-China relations in the future. Russia looks forward to close coordination and cooperation with the new government of China, strengthening exchanges in various fields and at all levels, and working for new and greater development of bilateral practical cooperation in various fields, including trade, investment, energy and cross-border transportation as well as people-to-people and cultural exchanges. The two Presidents jointly signed a Joint Statement of the People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation on Deepening the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Coordination for the New Era and a Joint Statement of the President of the People's Republic of China and the President of the Russian Federation on Pre-2030 Development Plan on Priorities in China-Russia Economic Cooperation, making plans and arrangements for the growth of bilateral relations and wide-ranging cooperation between the two countries going forward. The two sides also signed bilateral cooperation documents in the areas of agriculture, forestry, basic science, market regulation, the media and more. The two sides reaffirmed that they will continue to support each other on issues concerning each other's core interests, and jointly resist attempts by external forces to interfere in internal affairs. The Russian side noted that it opposes any form of "Taiwan independence" and firmly supports the Chinese side's measures to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Qin Gang said that China-Russia relationship has a solid political foundation and strong internal driving force. It has been blessed with the calm and soberness that have stood the test of time. As President Xi Jinping stressed, to consolidate and well develop China-Russia relations is a strategic choice China has made on the basis of its own fundamental interests and the prevailing trends of the world. It will not be changed or shaken by any turn of events. History has attested that China and Russia have found a right path of state-to-state interactions and this is essential for the relationship to stand the test of changing international circumstances. The China-Russia relationship is an open and sincere friendship, in sharp contrast to those closed, exclusive, selfish and narrow-minded bloc politics. Under new circumstances, China and Russia are committed to advancing the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination, which will bring more benefits to the two peoples and also make new contributions to human development and progress.
III. Stay committed to promoting peace through talks, demonstrating China's responsibilities as a major country
Qin Gang said, this visit comes as the Ukraine crisis is prolonged and escalated with its spillover effect continually surfacing, most countries are deeply concerned and call for easing tensions, and more and more voices for ceasefire, peace and rationality. Recently with the promotion and support of China, Saudi Arabia and Iran had successful talks in Beijing and decided to beat swords into plowshares, restoring their diplomatic relations. The international community highly values the Saudi Arabia-Iran talks as fully demonstrating that China is a fair, impartial, trustworthy and responsible major country, and expects China to play a greater role in solving regional hotspot issues. Since the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis, China has taken an objective and impartial position and actively promoted peace talks. The Chinese side recently released a document titled "China's Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis", which contains the core ideas put forward by President Xi Jinping, including "joint efforts in four areas", "four principles" and "three observations", takes into account the legitimate concerns of all parties, and has been widely understood and recognized by the international community. The Ukrainian side also spoke highly of China's efforts to promote a ceasefire and cessation of hostilities, saying that it attaches great importance to China-Ukraine friendly relations and hopes to maintain communication with China.
During this visit, President Xi Jinping and President Putin had an in-depth and candid exchange on the Ukraine crisis. President Xi Jinping pointed out, a review of history shows that basically conflicts have to be settled through dialogue and negotiation. The more difficulties there are, the greater the need to keep space for peace. The more acute the problem is, the more important it is not to give up efforts for dialogue. As long as all parties embrace the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and pursue equal-footed, rational and results-oriented dialogue and consultation, they will find a reasonable way to resolve the Ukraine crisis. The Russian side highly praised China's objective, impartial and balanced position, and expressed that Russia has carefully studied China's position paper, and is open to talks for peace. Russia welcomes China to play a constructive role in this regard. After the talks, the two Presidents signed joint statements and stressed once again that the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter must be observed and international law must be respected. The Russian side reaffirmed its commitment to the resumption of peace talks as soon as possible and welcomed China's willingness to play a positive role in the political and diplomatic settlement of the Ukraine crisis.
Qin Gang said, China was not the one creating the Ukraine crisis, nor a party in the crisis. Instead, China is an advocate of the political settlement of the crisis and a promoter of peace talks. Certain countries, out of selfish geopolitical interests, have done everything possible to obstruct peace talks, and even fabricated all kinds of rumors and fallacies to attack and smear China. But justice lies in the heart of people. Who is fanning the flames and fueling the fight? Who is promoting peace talks? These are all facts witnessed by the whole world. China's position is clear-cut and consistent. Between peace and war, we choose peace. Between dialogue and sanctions, we choose dialogue. Between lowering the temperature and fanning the flames, we choose the former. China does not have selfish political interests or engage in geopolitical manipulation. Instead, China is sincerely committed to promoting peace talks and a ceasefire. This reflects China's responsibility as a major country, is the embodiment of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in the new era in settling international hotspot issues, and is in line with the interests and expectations of the people of most countries in the world, including Russia and Ukraine.
Qin Gang concluded that this visit of President Xi Jinping is a historic journey of friendship, cooperation and peace and another successful example of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy. In a volatile world, we should stay cool-headed. At a critical juncture for the international community at a loss and in anxiety, President Xi Jinping has made insightful observations of the trends of the times, taken the helm, and injected valuable stability into the chaotic and intertwined international situation with the certainty of China's foreign policy, showing the extraordinary strategic resolve, political wisdom and responsibility as a pillar and world-class leader of a major country. China is in the first year of fully implementing the guiding principles set forth by the 20th CPC National Congress. As its domestic pandemic response measures are being refined, China is steadily resuming exchanges with the world. China has pressed the "acceleration button", and sounded the clarion call for its diplomacy. Encouraging progress will be made in head-of-state diplomacy this year. We need to acquire a deep understanding of the essence and idea of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy and the decisive significance of establishing Comrade Xi Jinping's core position on the Party Central Committee and in the Party as a whole and establishing the guiding role of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. We must strengthen confidence in the path, theory, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics, resolutely uphold General Secretary Xi Jinping's core position on the Party Central Committee and in the Party as a whole and resolutely uphold the Party Central Committee's authority and its centralized, unified leadership, and rally even more closely around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core. We need to forge ahead and take on responsibilities, address a shifting landscape and open up new horizons. We must resolutely defend our country's sovereignty, security, and development interests, and actively serve domestic high-quality development. We need to stay committed to the foreign policy goals of upholding world peace and promoting common development. We will foster an enabling external environment for building a modern socialist country in all respects, and write a new chapter in China's distinctive major-country diplomacy in the new era.