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The formation and development of Russian-Chinese relations in the modern period
Material posted: Publication date: 21-02-2013

In the system of interstate relations in political, economic and military-political relations are one of the most important places. They ensure the strengthening of bilateral relations, defence and national security of States, contribute to strengthening their role and importance in the global community in achieving the goals and objectives of foreign policy.

World and domestic experience shows that these relations represent a multilevel system of contacts and linkages established between the two countries for purposes of comparison and harmonization of foreign policy strategy.

64 years ago, on 1 October 1949, established people's Republic of China (PRC). This was an important historic event and the result of a long historical struggle of the Chinese people under the leadership of the Communist party of China (CPC) for national liberation. Education the PRC has opened up the China wide horizons independent economic, social and political development, new opportunities for true national revival and social renewal, awakening the creative activity and the unprecedented enthusiasm of multimillion masses of people. China has embarked on the path of socialist development and modernization.

China - the state which has set a goal to be on a par with the most developed powers of the world. The Chinese government successfully pursues a foreign policy aimed at establishment of relations with neighboring countries in the region and the world at large.

An important factor affecting the foreign policy of the country are and the processes occurring in the internal politics of the PRC. For example, common for Chinese leaders is that the old one, and the current party leadership headed by XI Jinping has pursued and continues to implement the strategy the implementation of China's reforms that laid back Deng Xiaoping 30 years ago. There are certain features that brought some new moments in the reform strategy, particularly in foreign policy, in a number of aspects of the social, demographic, national and party life of China.

Dynamics of change of one politician by another can be traced as follows.

The nominal transfer of power in the party and the state from Deng Xiaoping to Jiang Zemin in 1989, took place after the Chairman of the military Council of the CPC Central Committee Deng Xiaoping force troops suppressed a "counterrevolutionary riot" in Tiananmen square, in other parts of the capital and in a number of places joiners "capital chaos" the periphery.

At the September plenary in 2004, the CPC Central Committee of the 16th convocation, the leader of the third generation of Chinese leaders Jiang Zemin gave the military authorities power to the fourth generation leader Hu Jintao. The party laid on Hu Jintao's military the burden of power, and not on the post of the Supreme commander, and as Chairman of the Military Council of the CPC Central Committee, a position he previously held and Mao Zedong, and Deng Xiaoping, and Jiang Zemin.

The transfer of power in China's fourth generation leaders (Jiang Zemin to Hu Jintao) occurred in the following order: first transmitted spiritual power - the post of General Secretary of the Communist party of China. Then, a year later indulged in a formal secular power - a post of the President of China, and, finally, military power - the position of Chairman of the Military Council of the CPC Central Committee. When this military power was transferred with a two-year time lag, and this was done in order to avoid internal political struggles and temptations of a new generation of leaders, to change course and line of the Chinese project. The Chinese project, in turn for 60 years. It began in 1959 and aims to triumph in 2019. By 2019, China with the total power must take the status of "global power of first level" and become the absolute leader of the world.

In the Charter of the CPC at the 16th Congress of the CPC in 2002, it was recorded that prior to 1979 the history of China was a period of Mao Zedong. From 1979 to 1989 - the period of Deng Xiaoping. And since 1989 - the period of Jiang Zemin. In 2012, the 18th Congress of the CPC was added to the Charter the concept of scientific development, Hu Jintao.

At the 18th Congress of the CPC in 2012, the Jiang Zemin ensured the transfer immediately all power: the spiritual, the military and secular - the leader of the fifth generation leaders of China XI Jinping.

Starting from the moment of founding of the PRC, there were significant changes in relations between the USSR and China – from a close friendship between the USSR and the PRC in the 50 years before the deterioration of relations in the 60-70-ies and the development of strategic partnership between the Russian Federation and the PRC in the 90-ies. Recently, Beijing and Moscow were constantly strengthened bilateral relations and confirmed the commonality of their approaches to solving international problems, as evidenced by the Beijing Declaration of 18 July 2000 signed by the President of the Russian Federation V. Putin and President of China Jiang Zemin. In June 2001, in the Kremlin the President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President Jiang Zemin signed the "Treaty on good-neighborliness, friendship and cooperation between Russia and China". In a Joint statement the two heads of state, adopted when the document is signed, this Treaty was called the "programmatic document defining the development of Russian-Chinese relations in the new century"[1].

In October 2004, both sides adopted a Plan of action to implement the provisions of the Treaty on good neighborliness, friendship and cooperation between Russia and China in 2005-2008, and in November 2008 – the same plan for years 2009-2012 [2].

Successfully implemented signed by the heads of five States - Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan Shanghai (April 1996) and Moscow (April 1997) the agreement on confidence building in the military field and about mutual reduction of armed forces in the area of former Soviet-Chinese border. On the basis of "Shanghai five" was created the Shanghai cooperation organization, a co-founder along with these countries, and Uzbekistan.

The greatest success in relations between Russia and China has been made in the sphere of high politics. As noted in his interview, the former President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev on the eve of his visit to China in April 2011, "Russian-Chinese relations have reached "the highest point of development" history". In the first place – standing close ties at the highest level, that were by Vladimir Putin in 2000-2008 and remained with Dmitry Medvedev in 2008-2012, In 2004, during the visit of Vladimir Putin to China was finally resolved border issue and signed a Supplementary agreement between the RF and the PRC on the state border on its Eastern part. This agreement drew a line under the border and territorial issue, which for 40 years had created a conflict situation between countries. In 2006-2007, conducted by the national years of Russia in China and China in Russia in 2009 - 2010: the years of Russian and Chinese languages. Reached an agreement on holding the year of tourism. As a result of these events decreased fear of the Russian population in front of "Chinese expansion."

There are also more concrete results of development of Russian-Chinese relations. In the economy – from 2000 to 2010, the volume of Russian-Chinese trade grew by more than 10 times, and in 2011 in comparison with 2000 – more than 15 times (5,72 billion. to 79 billion us dollars). The accumulated Chinese investment in Russia – with 100 million. in 2000 to $ 2.6 billion. in 2010, Russian in China with 220 million. up to $ 1 billion [3].

In the humanitarian sphere – the number of Russians who visited China increased from 997 thousand in 2000 to 2.37 million in 2010 (up to a maximum of 3.17 million people in 2008). However, the number of Chinese citizens visiting the Russian Federation in 2010 – 748 thousand was slightly higher than in 2000 (254 thousand) and lower than in 2005 (1.1 million people).

In the inter-regional relations – between 2000 and 2010 the volume of trade in the Russian Far East with China increased 6.1 – fold from USD 1.1 billion. to 6.9 billion dollars, Prov. Heilongjiang with Russia, with us $ 1.4 billion. up to $ 7.5 billion. (in 2008 – 11 billion dollars). More than 60 regions in Russia have contacts with Chinese provinces [4].

The Chinese government pays much attention to scientific-technical cooperation with Russia, which is an important part of strategic interaction and partnership directed to the XXI century. It contributes to the solution of such problems as limitations of the Western countries access to China the latest technologies. Today, Russia and other CIS countries provided the Chinese a rare opportunity to get the latest technology at fairly low prices, primarily military technology.

An important place is assigned to and the intergovernmental scientific-technical cooperation, which is conducted on the basis of the agreement of 18 December 1992, In the last 4 meetings of intergovernmental commissions on economic, trade and scientific-technical cooperation was approved 245 projects of cooperation in the field of mechanical engineering, electronics, new materials, agriculture, biotechnology, medicine, etc. In June 1997, on one of the regular meetings of heads of government agreed to establish a Commission on scientific-technical cooperation, meetings of which are held once a year. Until today, held 4 meetings, was discussed 113 projects. For an even more successful cooperation based on the principles of equality, mutual benefit, joint ownership of results protection of intellectual property in 1999, the parties signed the "Agreement between the governments of the people's Republic of China and the Russian Federation on scientific-technical cooperation". Both sides continuously expand cooperation, making common efforts to improve the results of cooperation for the implementation of new modern technologies into production. In 1998 in the city of Yantai (Shandong province) organized the "Sino-Russian demonstration base for the implementation in production of new high technologies". In November 2000, at a regular meeting of the two premiers was formally signed a "Memorandum" on cooperation in the field of innovation.

In addition to cooperation along intergovernmental lines, is also of Chinese-Russian cooperation through the relevant ministries and committees. It should be noted the cooperation in nuclear energy, aviation and space, communication, navigation, electricity, environment, biotechnology, etc. is Another area of cooperation is cooperation between the academies of Sciences.

In the process of scientific and technical cooperation, with the cooperation and support of governments, based on the results of the research in the framework of state programs, carry out joint design (robot operating at a depth of 6000 m), there is an update available to one side or the other equipment (the installation better T-7), the use of advanced equipment to each other, for example laboratories to reduce the costs of experimentation. Cooperation helps to overcome the blockade of Western countries on some of the new directions. Both sides use the advantages of complementarity, to conduct an exchange in the technical field, thus obtaining the new technology. Enterprises are the principal agents of cooperation. Cooperation is also carried out on demonstrative bases where located on its territory enterprises enjoy tax benefits and exemptions on land use.

However, with all the positive development results of Russian-Chinese relations, and there are various unresolved issues. Not by chance in the Chinese press gives such assessment of Russian-Chinese relations, "in politics it's hot, the economy is cold." One of the main problems is the relatively low level of development of trade and economic relations between Russia and China, which is just over 2% of the total foreign trade China. However, it should be noted that during the global financial crisis, China pushed back Germany and came in 1st place by the total volume of Russian foreign trade [5].

This fully reflects the development of foreign economic relations of Russia. Russia should gradually move the vector of trade and economic cooperation with the West to the East, develop trade and economic relations with dynamically developing countries of the Asia-Pacific region (APR) – the PRC, Japan, Republic of Korea, countries in Southeast Asia in order to expand there sphere of their economic interests. This will allow to minimize the losses the Russian economy has suffered as a result of the global financial crisis. Currently, the development of trade and economic cooperation in the Eastern direction is becoming more attractive for Russia due to the rapid development of economy in the Asia-Pacific countries compared with the United States and Europe.

China is the largest trading partner of Russia in the Asia-Pacific region, which is emerging as one of the key centres of the emerging new global community. Both Russia and China are restructuring their economies and are equally interested in activating traditional and new forms of interaction and collaboration [6].

The positions of Russia and China on fundamental issues of device of world order and key international problems, including regional such as Iraq and the situation on the Korean Peninsula, coincide or are close. On this basis between the two countries maintained close cooperation in foreign policy. Recently intensified cooperation in the framework of the Russian-Chinese Working group on fighting terrorism. In addition to intensive contacts between the foreign Ministers (for example, in April 2004, Russia with official visit was visited by the Minister of foreign Affairs of China Li Zhaoxing) has a system of planned consultations between the Foreign ministries at the level of senior Ministry staff.

The most significant role in the development of bilateral relations between the two countries is their activity in the framework of the Shanghai cooperation organization (SCO). The starting point of functioning of the SCO should be considered a meeting of the heads of the five States in April 1996 in Shanghai, which culminated in the signing of the "Agreement between China, Russia and the Republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on strengthening confidence in the military sphere in the border areas". Uzbekistan joined the organization on 14 June the meeting of heads of the SCO member States in Shanghai. Then at the meeting signed a Declaration on establishment of Shanghai cooperation organization. Meanwhile, Russia and China consider the SCO as another mechanism for securing a safe development of Central Asia and the Asia-Pacific region as a whole, and also as a fundamentally new model of geopolitical integration.

The creation of this organization coincided with the period when China announced itself as a power, claiming a new role in world politics. Considering the interaction of States within the SCO, it can be argued that the basis of this organization are Russia and China. If we consider their role and influence in the world, it is understandable their strategic interests in various regions of the planet, including such regions as Central Asia, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific.

The SCO has its own budget, where the share of Russia and people's Republic of China (PRC) accounted for 24 % of the total budget, Kazakhstan – 21 %, Uzbekistan – 15 %, Kyrgyzstan – 10 %, Tajikistan – 6 % [7].

The main activities of Russia in this format to ensure security and stability in the Central African Republic are:

  • border disputes between SCO members;
  • countering extremism and terrorism and drug trafficking;
  • countering U.S. influence in the Eurasian region;
  • the decision of regional problems of military-political nature.

The initial prerequisites for the formation of the SCO are measures closer Sino-Russian relations in the process of formation of the Russian-Chinese border, the political feature of which was that it was set during diplomatic negotiations in which both parties equally had its successes and shortcomings. The compromises that went to Russia in 1991-1999 were justified and allowed to transfer Russian-Chinese cooperation on a new quality – strategic partnership, making it real, tangible and affecting on the security processes in the region of Central Asia and the Asia-Pacific region as a whole. The process started in 1989 with the negotiations on confidence-building measures on the Soviet-Chinese border in the reinforcements already marching between the USSR and the PRC on border questions, and then transformed into negotiations on confidence-building measures and the reduction of armed forces between Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, on the one hand, and China on the other, enabled these countries to gradually form a climate of confidence and security throughout the former Soviet-Chinese borders and, thereby, to create preconditions for further cooperation, but in the framework of the "five".

Since 1992, work on the settlement of border issues in Central Asia and China was carried out in the framework of the working group of the Chinese delegation and the joint delegation of Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, [8], although the Chinese side insisted on a bilateral format. For young States of Central Asia, which on the basis of legal succession had to be with China talks on the boundary, but had no need for this archives legal, methodological, historical and other documents, this format together with Russia was a vital prerequisite. So the format of the "joint delegation" allowed Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to receive from the Russian foreign Ministry the required documents and the relevant protocols of the Soviet-Chinese talks.

To date, the process of delimitation of state borders of Russia and the Central Asian Republics with China is almost complete. In April 1996 Shanghai agreement on confidence building measures in the military field in the border area, States agreed to establish a 200-mile maximum demilitarized border zone. At the next meeting of leaders of the five countries (in Moscow in April 1997) signed a five-sided act of the "Agreement on mutual reduction of armed forces in border areas". This agreement was elaborated on and supplemented the Shanghai document, but also reinforced mutual confidence in security matters.

Thus, the problem of a successful solution of the border issue continues to play its important role in the SCO region. This organization has a special function – ensuring border security and stability in the areas along the borders between member States.

Countries of the SCO held in August 2003, the first joint anti-terrorist exercises "Interaction – 2003" in Kazakhstan and China "Cooperation – 2007" in Russia. These held for the first time in the history of this organization joint anti-terrorism military exercises, demonstrate the willingness of the participating countries to go beyond political declarations, but to create real mechanisms of maintaining peace and stability, countering common threats. As stressed by the President of Russia Vladimir Putin in interview to the Chinese newspaper "people's daily", the SCO is not a military bloc, and the organization, can play a very important role in creating an enabling environment and stability not only in Central Asia but in the Asia-Pacific region as a whole [9].

One of the main problems of development of Russian-Chinese relations is the lack of awareness among partners about each other. One of the main tasks of both parties is to improve the level of awareness. To solve this problem, a new column on the National economic portal of Chinese Internet "Spa Economic Networks" belonging to the newspaper "Jinji daily" (Economic Daily). The heading is "a Window into the Russian economy," and aims to help better the awareness of government bodies, institutions, companies and Chinese citizens on the Russian economy.

Closer trade and economic cooperation between Russia and China will allow China to implement its programme to build a society of "xiaokang" (well-being or small), and Russia significantly increase the economic strength of the country. This applies in particular adjacent to the China parts of the Russian Far East, which will be able to use their advantage – geographic proximity to the world's second power in terms of gross domestic product (GDP).

In the XXI century the Asia-Pacific region is becoming a new economic and political center of the world's development. Important role it must play Russia and China. From the development of partnerships between them will largely depend on the situation in the vast Eurasian region. The development of cooperation and the course for strategic partnership in many respects the interests of both countries in the twenty-first century. In the current 2013 year, China celebrates 64 years since the date of formation, and the potential of Russian-Chinese cooperation in political, economic and military is far from exhausted.


[1] M. Margelov of the Russian-Chinese relations at the highest point of development. // International Affairs, 2003. No. 9 – C. degree 24-42.

[2] Y. M. Galenovich Russia and China in the twentieth century: the border. – M.: International relations, 2004. – C. 285.

[3] A. G. Yakovlev, Russia and China: the state and prospects of relations // China in world and regional politics (past and present): inform. bull. Institute for Far Eastern studies. No. 3. 1995. - 54 – C. 59.

[4] A. Ostrovsky, V. 63 people's Republic of China.

[5] Express information No. 6. Prospects for regional cooperation of Russia and China in the twenty-first century / Russian Academy of Sciences. The Institute Of The Far East. – M., 2007. -C. 65.

[6] Molodin, V. N., Komissarov S. A. the history of the Chinese borders. // New and newest history. 2003, No. 3 – C. 50-52.

[7] Ganiev T. A. Security in the Central Asian region of the CIS and the Russian Federation's role in its provision of: Diss. ... candidate. watered. Sciences. M: WOO, 2008 – C. 157.

[8] Komissina I. N., Kurtov A. A. the Shanghai cooperation organization: the Formation of a new reality// ROS. Institute for strategic studies. - M., 2005 - P. 30.

[9] T. A. Ganiev Security of the Central Asian region of the CIS and the Russian Federation's role in its provision of: Diss. ... candidate. watered. Sciences. M: WOO, 2008 – C. 160.


The list of sources

  1. Azat Dushebaev. The Institute of strategic analysis and prognosis (ISAP) the Relations between the Russian Federation and people's Republic of China. 2010.
  2. Vorontsov A. K. the Problem of security in the Asia-Pacific region // Problems of the Far East. – No. 3. – 2000.
  3. Ganiev T. A. Security in the Central Asian region of the CIS and the Russian Federation's role in its provision of: Diss. ... candidate. watered. Sciences. M.: WU, 2008.
  4. Galenovich Y. M. Russia and China in the twentieth century: the border. – M.: International relations, 2004.
  5. Komissina I. N., Kurtov A. A. the Shanghai cooperation organization: the Formation of a new reality// ROS. Institute for strategic studies. – M., 2005.
  6. Margelov M. Russian-Chinese relations at the highest point of development. // International Affairs, 2003 No. 9.
  7. Molodin, V. N., Komissarov S. A. the history of the Chinese borders. // New and newest history. 2003, No. 3
  8. Myasnikov, V. S. Russia-China. // ONS 1996, No. 2
  9. Yakovlev A. G., Russia and China: the state and prospects of relations // China in world and regional politics (past and present): inform. bull. Institute for Far Eastern studies. – 1995, № 3.
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Guseva Elena

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