Chinese President Xi Jinping started his tour in Vladivostok Tuesday by attending the Fourth Eastern Economic Forum. It is the first time for the Chinese head of state to attend the forum. The Chinese Embassy in Russia called it a major milestone in the history of Sino-Russian ties.
On the same day, Russia launched the biggest military drills Vostok-2018 (East-2018) since the fall of the Soviet Union in the Russian Far East. The People's Liberation Army sent over 3,000 troops, more than 900 pieces of military hardware and a combined total of about 30 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters to participate. This is an unprecedented scene in the history of Sino-Russian military exchanges.
The two major events sent clear signals - the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination has been further consolidated and there will be broad prospects for cooperation between the two in the Far East.
Comprehensive strategic cooperation between Beijing and Moscow attracted tremendous worldwide attention and is constantly developing even as the West keeps bad-mouthing it. So far the Sino-Russian relationship has formed a strong strategic stability. Mutual political trust has reached an unprecedented high and economic cooperation has been steadily expanding.
Needless to say, Washington has actually promoted China-Russia ties by strategically squeezing the two countries.
But it is quite naïve for the White House to treat Beijing-Moscow strategic cooperation as an appendage of US policies toward China and Russia. An internal constructive force has long existed in Sino-Russian ties and surpasses their respective relations with the US. The bilateral relationship has become one of the cornerstones of the two nations' global diplomatic strategies.
There are advantages for China and Russia to develop more economic collaboration in the Far East. But joint works there will also test the trust and patience of the two countries. Those who tend to stir up trouble can also find a way to bad-mouth the bilateral cooperation in the region through hyping historical memories of the two in the area or the gap in population density between the Russian Far East and Northeast China.
Yet the general trend is for Sino-Russian collaboration in the Far East to move steadily forward. China remains the largest trading partner and has for many years been the biggest source of foreign investment in the Far East. A total 28 Chinese projects have been implemented in the region.
China's total investment there is worth $4 billion. The Tongjiang-Nizhneleninskoye railway bridge, the Primorye-1 and Primorye-2 international transport corridors are all under construction.
Both China and Russia are major powers. Their support and coordination with each other, which stemmed from protecting their own core interests, are powerful. They can also create a vital influence when adopting a unified stance on a global issue. This is the core significance of the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination. It is not only crucial to the two countries, but also to the global strategic balance.