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MOSCOW, May 21. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to China and his joint statement with Chinese President Xi Jinping about the impermissibility of interference into other countries’ affairs signal the emergence of a new center of political power. Russian experts believe it could put an end to the unipolar world and US hegemony.
In a joint statement on Ukraine, the leaders said it was important to refrain from unilateral sanctions and financing or encouraging actions aimed at changing another country’s constitutional system. Though the US was not mentioned, it was obvious whom the statement addressed. Moscow and Beijing also expressed their disapproval of developing missile defense promoted, they say, by the US and its NATO allies.
Traditionally moderate and cautious, China has thus unambiguously demonstrated support for Russia under currently uneasy geopolitical circumstances.
“Russia’s and China’s positions are similar in many respects,” Putin said after the talks in Shanghai. “We have common priorities globally and regionally," he said, looking at closer coordination in foreign policy, notably in the United Nations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the BRICS assembly of developing nations, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia.
Being permanent members of the UN Security Council, Russia and China have long been in unanimity over key global political issues. Their joint statement on Syria also expressed a common position on the need for non-discriminatory and depoliticized resolution of the crisis.
“The new center of political power represented by Russia and China was largely formed before this visit to Shanghai", said Sinologist Andrei Ostrovsky. “The situation in Ukraine and the West’s sanctions against Russia only crystallized Russia’s relations with China and raised them to a brand new footing. If anyone was unaware of the existence of another center of political power, it has now become obvious,” Ostrovsky added.
“Russia has long been developing economic contacts with China, and trade turnover between the two countries is constantly on the rise,” president of the Diplomatic Academy Evgeny Bazhanov told the Vechernyaya Moskva weekly. “But the leaders repeatedly said the turnover and mutual investments did not live up to the level of political relations between the countries. Neither did they correspond to the economies’ scales - China is set to become the number one economy soon. Therefore, the signed agreements are another important step to deepen the relations,” the expert added.
Deputy director of the National Strategy Institute Alexander Kostin noted the qualitative change in Chinese policy as a new team came to power at the latest meeting of the Communist Party of China.
“These are quite tough, consistent and bold people, which makes them somehow similar to Vladimir Putin,” Kostin told ITAR-TASS. “They were brought up at the time of China’s brisk economic growth in a unipolar world. New China does not see itself as a younger brother and does not tend to evade controversial issues and concentrate on its internal affairs. Modern China is ready to actively protect its investments without avoiding tough political statements on the international arena, and to fight for its place among the major world powers,” Kostin stressed.
Director of the Center for Social and Political Studies, military expert Vladimir Evseev says Russian-Chinese naval maneuvres on Wednesday are “evidence of very important military rapprochement of the two countries”. “This process will be accompanied by the formation of a bipolar world order,” he said.
Do regular joint military exercises imply the possibility of a military alliance in the future? Chair at the School of Oriental Studies at the Higher School of Economics Alexei Maslov believes Russia and China will not create and do not need a NATO-like organization.
“The existing mechanisms allow for painless military cooperation, Russia and China feel all right without a military bloc,” said Maslov.
Putin’s visit to Shanghai served as a next stepping stone in the formation of a new political center of Russia and China, which assert “independent policy and their national values”, State Duma Deputy and United Russia party politician Vyacheslav Nikonov told ITAR-TASS.
“Asia Pacific is a global economic growth leader, home to more than half of the world's population and more than half of global GDP,” said the politician. “Russia is a power between Europe and Asia Pacific, and its rapprochement with China is a logical and natural process,” he emphasized.
This year, China is set to become the world’s principal economy and replace the US from the position it has occupied since 1872. It was highly important for Russia to develop ties with the fastest developing economy - “more important than with the stagnating EU economy, for which a decade will not be enough to achieve pre-crisis 2007 levels”, said Nikonov, also head of the National Committee on BRICS Research.
“Russia and China are the key powers within BRICS - the bloc comprised of five countries accounting for 43% of the world’s population. BRICS countries share common interests, adherence to international law and the idea of a multipolar world. It is no coincidence that the US calls Russia and China its geopolitical rivals,” Nikonov added.
The success of Putin’s visit to China was clear evidence that Russia would not be isolated because of events in Ukraine, said the expert.
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