“The timing of Xi’s trip to Russia is important. Ukraine’s economy has been seriously damaged while the banking system of Russia has met severe challenges due to the Ukraine conflict. The conflict has also disrupted the economy of other European countries. People are in dire need of a solution to the crisis,” said Wu Fei, a senior research fellow of the Center for China and Globalization and professor of Jinan University, in an interview with GDToday on March 21.
According to China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Russia from March 20 to 22, at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin. It was Xi’s first visit to Moscow after a lapse of over three years, and also his first overseas trip and state visit to Russia after his reelection as President of China.
During Xi’s trip, the Russian side noted it welcomes the constructive proposals set forth in China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis, and reaffirmed its commitment to the resumption of peace talks as soon as possible.
“Based on China’s peace plan, Ukraine and Russia can resolve the conflict on their own,” Wu elaborated.
In addition to the Ukraine Crisis, Wu noted one of the key focuses of Xi’s trip is to strengthen the economic ties between China and Russia.
“The two sides will make further efforts to synergize the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union, especially in the banking sector. They will tackle the challenges in the settlement of cross-border trade through roubles and yuan,” Wu said.
Wu also noted that the economic cooperation between China and Russia is comprehensive, covering multiple files such as trade, investment, energy, space, and cross-border transportation and logistics.
He took South China’s Guangdong province as an example, saying, “Cars imported from Guangdong are very popular in Moscow, and Russian people can easily buy quality products from Guangdong online.”
Wu furthered, “Moreover, Guangzhou, the capital city of Guangdong, is one of Russians’ favorite travel destination. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, there are four flights traveling between Guangzhou and Moscow every day.”
“In 1996, when China and Russia set the trade target of 20 billion USD, it is hard to believe we can fulfill the goal because the trade volume at that time was only 6.85 billion USD. Now, the bilateral trade is about to reach 200 billion USD,” Wu said.
“The close economic ties between the two countries are not at the behest of the governments but rather in response to the needs of people and economic development,” he noted.
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