Advocating the construction of a new type of international relations based on mutual respect, fairness, justice, and win-win cooperation is the core concept of China’s diplomacy in the new era and the basic principle for China to handle its relations with other countries. China pursues an independent foreign policy and does not accept any third-party interference in its handling of international relations. After the Ukraine crisis, China insisted on promoting pragmatic cooperation with Russia and achieved fruitful results. Fundamentally, these achievements were made under the guidance of the new model of international relations, injecting new vitality into the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Russia in the new era.
Firstly, mutual respect is the premise. After the Crimean crisis in 2014, the United States and Western countries imposed multiple rounds of sanctions on Russia. After the Ukrainian crisis in 2022, some Western leaders even threatened to sanction Russia as an untouchable “pariah” in the international community. In this context, China, not fearing the bullying of certain countries, insisted on developing normal pragmatic cooperation with Russia, reflecting the basic principle that mutual respect is the foundation of inter-state relations. The facts have proved that the continuous sanctions imposed by the United States and the West on Russia since 2014 only exacerbate regional tensions and have no constructive role in resolving conflicts. This is because international conflicts can only be resolved through equal dialogue, and the premise of equal dialogue is mutual respect.
Second, adherence to fairness and justice is a standard. China-Russia relations are based on non-alignment, non-confrontation, and non-targeting of third parties. China-Russia cooperation conforms to the principles of fairness and justice in international relations, so China has the confidence to resist third-party interference. China and Russia are both permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, and their pragmatic cooperation can play a constructive role in international organizations and mechanisms such as the World Trade Organization, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the G20. Therefore, China-Russia cooperation will not only pose a threat to any country in the world but also become an important stability and constructive factor in the changes of the century.
Third, achieving win-win cooperation is the result. Under the guidance of the new model of international relations, China-Russia pragmatic cooperation has developed rapidly. First, economic and trade cooperation has grown significantly. In February 2022, China and Russia signed the “Roadmap for the High-quality Development of Goods and Services Trade between China and Russia,” which provides new planning for the development of bilateral economic and trade cooperation. Data released by the General Administration of Customs of China showed that in the first 11 months of 2022, China-Russia trade volume grew by 32% year-on-year to reach a historical high of US$172.41 billion. Second, Chinese investment in Russia has grown rapidly. Chinese companies’ investments in Russia are expanding from traditional energy and agriculture to manufacturing sectors such as automobiles, home appliances, and food processing. According to Russian statistics, more than 1,000 Chinese companies have established factories in Russia. Third, energy cooperation is showing strong momentum. After the Ukrainian crisis, energy cooperation between Russia and Europe was basically interrupted, while energy exports to China increased significantly during the same period. According to statistics from the General Administration of Customs of China, in 2022, Russia’s liquefied natural gas exports to China increased by 43.9% to 6.5 million tons, and oil exports increased by 8.3% to 86.25 million tons. In 2024, the “Power of Siberia-2” pipeline, which passes through Mongolia, will be put into operation with an annual gas transportation capacity of 50 billion cubic meters.
The Ukrainian crisis has prompted profound changes in the Eurasian economic landscape, and there are broad prospects for pragmatic cooperation between China and Russia. Some countries are accustomed to viewing Sino-Russian relations through the filter of Cold War alliances, but under the guidance of the new concept of international relations, Sino-Russian cooperation is not a threat to the legitimate rights and interests of any country, but rather a constructive force that benefits the peoples of both countries and promotes regional and global stability and prosperity.