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FEATURE STORY: China-Russia Partnership
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China-Russia Partnership
By Harold Murphy

BT 201712 Feature 02      在经济领域,我们常常提到世界第一大经济体美国和世界第二大经济体中国。但从国土面积上看,位列前三的俄国与中国也非常吸引世界的目光。近年来,中俄两国已采取很多举措加强两国在经济、军事和政治领域的伙伴关系。在刚刚过去的十月,俄罗斯总统普京还就俄中友协成立60周年致贺信。贺信指出,俄中两国关系如今上升到互信的全面伙伴关系和战略协作关系。在10月10日举行的中国外交部例行记者会上,发言人华春莹也表示,当前中俄关系处于历史最好时期,中方愿与俄方共同努力,夯实世代友好根基。此外,中俄两国元首习近平主席与普京总统今年已经4次会晤,推进务实合作,在国际和地区事务中保持密切协调配合,为维护世界和平与稳定作出重要贡献,足见两国关系之密切。

      在历史上,中俄也曾发生战争。17世纪时,俄军入侵中国,两国其后订立条约,此后时有往来,并保持密切的双边关系,但俄罗斯亦获得了不少中国领土。1910年代,中俄两国发生了巨大的变化,1949年中华人民共和国成立后,苏联率先与中华人民共和国建交,并援助中国,派出的驻华大使罗申受到元首级接待。苏联解体后的1992年,两国宣告建立了“建设性的伙伴关系”。 1996年形成了“战略伙伴关系”。 2001年又迈向了“友好合作”条约。两国关系逐步深化友好。

      在经贸方面,俄罗斯是中国第十大贸易伙伴。最近几年,中俄非常明确地提出了未来经贸合作目标,在刚刚过去的2016年,中俄贸易出现恢复性增长。根据中国海关统计,2016年中国对俄罗斯出口373亿美元,增长7%;自俄罗斯进口322亿美元,降低3%。与此同时,俄罗斯和中国也都是金砖五国的一部分,共同推动两国及地区经济发展。

      除了经济与政治领域,中俄在能源领域的合作也有目共睹。中俄原油管道工程于2010年9月27日竣工,该原油管道被称为中国四大能源战略通道之一。对于中国来说,与世界第一原油出口大国俄罗斯的合作,是能源战略的迫切需要。俄国也借此机会将丰富能源转化为了经济效益和双边友好关系。

      相信中俄两国在未来会有更为深入的交流、合作与发展。

BT 201712 Feature 01 2Introduction

China and Russia have recently made important moves to strengthen their economic, military and political partnership that both countries have enjoyed for quite some time now. Both countries have taken similar sides on several issues discussed at the UN Security Council in recent times (including the Syrian conflict). Furthermore, the Western-backed sanctions placed on Russia for its annexation of Crimea have drawn it ever closer to China, with numerous economic partnership agreements signed between both countries. And while the USSR and Communist China had an undeclared border war in the past, their relationship seems better than ever today. In fact, China's state run news agency, Xinhua, recently reported that "China-Russia relations are at their 'best time in history' with exchanges between Xi and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin playing a crucial role in bilateral relations."
 

Diplomatic relations between China and Russia have dramatically improved after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. One year later, in 1992, both countries declared a “constructive partnership”; in 1996 they formed a “strategic partnership”; and in 2001 they progressed towards a treaty of “friendship and cooperation”.


Russia and China are part of the BRICS group of countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).


Trade and Economic Relations between China and Russia


The economic partnership between China and Russia has seen a significant improvement over the last three years. The central banks of China and Russia have moved closer to enable transaction settlements in the local currencies of both countries. Access to bond markets as well as creation of special investment funds to facilitate entrance of Chinese exports into Russia represents a critical move made by Russia to use China as a viable springboard to bypass the effects of Western sanctions. Of special interest to Russia is the improvement of its transportation infrastructure. Russia is the largest country in the world by land mass, spanning close to 11 time zones. Much of its transportation infrastructure was inherited from the old Soviet Union and is in vast need of modernization.
 

Unable to access critical funding from international finance institutions for some of its key projects as a result of economic sanctions, Russia has turned to China to fill the gaps. China has made its opposition to the Western-backed sanctions known and has only been too pleased to jump at the opportunities that have been presented by Russia’s moves to adopt an import-substitution policy.
 

The effects are already being seen in both countries. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and the China Development Bank made an agreement to create a joint investment fund worth around $10 billion to finance Russian infrastructure and development projects. Russia’s state development bank, VEB, also made a deal with China Development Bank for a $850 million loan to create a new innovation fund.

BT 201712 Feature 03Trade between the two countries also grew to about $95 billion in 2014 according to statistics from China’s customs agency, up from about $16 billion in 2003, which represents a 6-fold increase in trade volume over 10 years. And while the main exports of Russia to China are minerals and energy, amounting to $39.6 billion in 2013, China exports mainly machinery and other equipment to Russia, worth $49.6 billion in 2013.

BT 201712 Feature 04Both countries also signed important energy deals. In March 2016, Russia’s largest independent gas producer sold a 9.9% stake in the Yamal liquefied natural gas venture worth $1.2 billion to China’s Silk Road Fund. In addition, China will annually import 30 million tons of Russian crude oil starting from 2018, through two transmission pipelines with a length of 941 kilometers between the two countries. Their total annual capacity will be 15 million tons of crude oil.

BT 201712 Feature 05Construction of the Sino-Russia crude oil transmission pipeline

The value of E-commerce between the two countries is also rising. Data from Russia-based Association of Internet Trade shows that AliExpress, a Chinese e-commerce website, is the most visited e-commerce site in Russia, with 22 million hits in January 2017 alone.
 

Use of National Currencies

Both countries have decided to use their own national currencies instead of the US dollar for bilateral trade. As a result of the meeting of the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in November 2010, the Chinese interbank market introduced the trading of the Chinese Yuan against the Russian Ruble, while the Russian FX market started trading the Yuan against the Ruble in late 2010. This move is expected to further strengthen the China-Russia relations and protect their domestic economies.

BT 201712 feature 01BRICS 2017: Outcome for Russia-China Economic Partnership

The BRICS Summit held in Xiamen, China in September 2017, featured several interactive sessions between Chinese and Russian officials. Therefore, it is expected that China and Russia will continue to see increased economic cooperation as embodied in some of the key points of the Xiamen Declaration:
 

- Implementation of economic partnerships and initiatives among BRICS member states in areas of trade and investment, manufacturing, financial integration, technology and innovation.

- Facilitation of financial market integration.

- Improved industrial cooperation.

- Strengthened cooperation on energy projects.

- Deepening of cooperation in matters relating to food security, climate change, agricultural technology cooperation as well as application of ICT in agriculture.

BT 201712 Feature 06Summary

Both countries have agreed to pair China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative with Russia-backed Eurasian Economic Union, in a move which is expected to serve as a springboard for massive infrastructural development and increased investment opportunities for both countries and the entire Central Asian region. Coupled with the implementation of the Xiamen Declaration, economic partnership between China and Russia is expected to deepen in years to come.
 

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