On the Russian side, taking part in the talks were Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev; the Chinese side was represented by Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China to the Russian Federation Zhang Hanhui and Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Deng Li.
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Beginning of conversation with Member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee Wang Yi
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Wang Yi, friends, colleagues,
We are delighted to see you in Russia, in Moscow.
First of all, I would like to take this opportunity of having you here and to begin our meeting by conveying my best wishes to our friend, President of the People's Republic of China, Comrade Xi Jinping.
We know that China has implemented very important domestic political steps, which will certainly contribute to the strengthening of the country and will create the right conditions for its ongoing development in accordance with the plans of the Chinese Communist Party.
In this regard, I would like to note that Russian-Chinese relations are progressing as we planned in previous years: they are progressing and growing steadily, and we are reaching new milestones.
I am primarily referring to economic projects, of course. It is our ambition to reach the level of US$200 billion in 2024. Last year, we reached US$185 billion. There is every reason to believe that we will achieve our goals in terms of trade, perhaps even earlier than we planned, because bilateral trade is growing.
Trade is important for both sides, but we also cooperate in international affairs. As the long-term Foreign Minister of China, you are well aware of this, as you have been a part of this and continue to be directly involved as a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. We are grateful to you and to all your colleagues, to the entire staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – we are expressing the warmest words of gratitude for this joint work.
International relations are complicated at present, and the situation hardly improved after the collapse of the bipolar system; quite on the contrary, tensions spiralled. In this regard, Russian-Chinese cooperation in the international arena, as we have repeatedly stressed, is very important for stabilising the international situation.
We also cooperate in every other area – in humanitarian projects and international organisations, including, of course, the United Nations, the UN Security Council, of which we are permanent members, BRICS, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. We have a lot of joint work to do together.
And of course, we are expecting the President of the People's Republic of China in Russia – we have agreed on his visit earlier. We know he has a domestic political agenda to attend to, but we assume that once the issues on that agenda are dealt with (the National People's Congress, which is planned by the relevant congress of Chinese deputies, where major personnel issues are to be resolved), we will proceed with our plans for personal meetings, which will give an additional impetus to our relations.
Member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee Wang Yi (retranslated):
Thank you very much for finding the time in your schedule to meet with our delegation.
First, let me convey to you sincere greetings and best wishes from President Xi Jinping.
At the end of 2022, President Xi Jinping met with you via videoconference to comprehensively sum up the achievements in our relations, which outlined a wide-scale plan for the continued development of our relations.
I attended that meeting as well. You said that the Russian side invited Mr Wang Yi to visit Russia as soon as possible, so I visited Russia as scheduled in order to comprehensively implement the agreements of our leaders so as to achieve great results in our cooperation across various fields.
Amid an extremely complex and volatile international situation, China-Russia relations have withstood the pressure exerted by the international community and are developing quite sustainably. Although the crisis constantly makes itself felt, crises offer opportunities, and opportunities may turn into crises, which we know from history. So, we need to redouble our efforts to respond to the crisis and the opportunities, and to deepen our cooperation.
We are also here to emphasise that our relations are never directed against third countries and, of course, are not subject to pressure from third parties, since we have a very strong economic, political and cultural foundation. We have gained quite an extensive experience precisely because we are supportive of multipolarity and democratisation of international relations, which is fully in line with the spirit of the times and history and meets the interests of most countries as well.
In conjunction with the Russian side, we are looking forward to maintaining political determination, deepening political mutual trust and strategic cooperation, comprehensively expanding practical cooperation in order to play a major, constructive role in ensuring the interests of our countries, and promoting progress around the world.
That concludes my opening remarks. I am now ready to listen to your very important opinion, and I am also prepared to have a detailed discussion with you.