Valentina Matvienko: Russian-Chinese relations are a model of effective 21st century inter-state interaction

Members of the Inter-Parliamentary Commission on Cooperation between the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and the National People's Congress of the People’s Republic of China held a meeting.

Russian-Chinese relations are a model of effective 21st century inter-state interaction. Joint work made it possible to elevate them to an all-time high. Hopefully, all-round partnership and strategic cooperation will grow even stronger.

Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matvienko made this statement while speaking at the 7th Meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Commission on Cooperation between the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and the National People's Congress of the People’s Republic of China.

The event was held via videoconference by the Commission’s co-chairs, namely, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matvienko; Li Zhanshu, Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the PRC National People's Congress; and Ivan Melnikov, First Deputy Speaker of the State Duma.

Valentina Matvienko noted that the year 2021 was a landmark anniversary for Russian-Chinese relations. “The Treaty on Good-Neighbourliness, Friendship and Cooperation was signed 20 years ago, and it laid fundamental principles for developing our dialogue in the new millennium. I believe that this bilateral document can rightfully be called a model example of formalising specific agreements. The treaty remains topical during the current uncertain and turbulent global affairs. The leaders of our countries, namely, President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of China Xi Jinping, have made a tremendous contribution to this.”

According to Valentina Matvienko, bilateral economic ties, as well as the simultaneous and well-coordinated development of the Eurasian Economic Union and the Belt and Road Initiative, have huge potential. “All the necessary organisational conditions have now been created for this. The relevant agreement has been signed with the Eurasian Economic Union, and members of the Joint Commission are working. Today, we have to make our joint activities part of departmental cooperation and develop joint projects.”

The legislators of both countries could work on mechanisms for guaranteeing such projects, Valentina Matvienko noted. “The Federation Council, which represents Russian regions, is interested in inter-regional cooperation and closely monitors this topic. I know that China prioritises the development of its territories. Participants in the first conference of heads of the legislative bodies of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation and the people's congresses of the People’s Republic of China’s provinces, held via videoconference on 13 July 2021, discussed promising long-term Russian-Chinese cooperation projects.” The Federation Council Speaker is confident that the new format of joint work should be held on a regular basis.

Valentina Matvienko underscored the significance of work involving the Inter-Governmental Commission on Cooperation and Development of the Far East and Baikal Region of Russia and of Northeast China. “This work is yielding tangible results. In 2020, when the economies of many countries faced major difficulties, trade between Russia’s Far East and China expanded by 3.3 percent and reached almost $11 billion. Promising transport projects also continue to make progress.”

Russia and China continue to interact at multilateral parliamentary venues, with the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum occupying an important place in this system. She noted the need for an SCO-BRICS parliamentary dimension.

Russia and China voice similar positions while assessing global matters, Valentina Matvienko noted. “We call for honouring international law. We believe that it is unacceptable to substitute generally recognised norms with rules that have been conceived by a small number of countries on the basis of time-serving selfish interests. We see the policy of US and EU sanctions as a manifestation of unfair competition aiming to hamper technological and economic development. And we have a weighty tool of parliamentary diplomacy for jointly countering these unhealthy discriminatory measures. We emphatically denounce interference in the affairs of sovereign states.”

While discussing attempted foreign interference and the use of discriminatory measures, the Federation Council Speaker said that the COVID-19 pandemic was no exception either. “Russia has repeatedly noted, including at the most prestigious international venues, the importance of launching international cooperation during the pandemic, ensuring equal, fair and open access to innovative medical technologies and vaccines, and the need for mutual vaccine recognition.”

It may be symbolic, but 2021, the Year of Science and Technology in Russia, has coincided with the Cross Years of Russian-Chinese Scientific, Technical and Innovative Cooperation, Valentina Matvienko noted. “Russia is ready to help carry out ambitious scientific projects, including the creation of the International Lunar Research Station.”

The Federation Council Speaker noted that young people were greatly interested in scientific cooperation. “Interaction between Russian and Chinese universities, including those in the capitals and the regions, continues to grow stronger. This is a good basis for implementing the Russian-Chinese road map for scientific, technical and innovative cooperation up to 2025.”

Regional security matters are a separate element of inter-parliamentary dialogue, the Speaker of the Russian Parliament’s upper house said.

It is particularly sad to hear confrontationist rhetoric from our colleagues, members of the parliamentary community. For example, I believe that calls by high-ranking officials to boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing are unacceptable. Such statements run counter to the spirit of parliamentarianism and Olympic principles,” Valentina Matvienko said.

Li Zhanshu, Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the PRC National People's Congress, noted that bilateral relations were making good progress. He called for actively developing mutually beneficial relations between border regions of the Russian Federation and China still further. He also noted that Chinese and Russian legislatures were advancing practical cooperation and facilitating expanded friendship between the peoples of both countries. Parliamentary commissions for cooperation play an important role in this process, he noted.

Ivan Melnikov, First Deputy Speaker of the State Duma, noted that new members of the lower house of parliament would ensure the complete continuity of Russian-Chinese relations within the framework of inter-parliamentary cooperation with the National People's Congress of the People’s Republic of China.

Deputy Federation Council Speaker Konstantin Kosachev believes that Russian-Chinese inter-parliamentary ties are becoming a more substantial component of strategic long-term interaction between both countries. “We have made headway in coordinating positions to expand inter-regional cooperation, interaction between business organisations, public organisations and ordinary citizens. We hope to expand this productive dialogue.” According to Konstantin Kosachev, senators of the Russian Federation and State Duma deputies representing various Russian regions support the policy of further expanding our interstate and inter-parliamentary relations.

During the meeting, members of parliament reviewed cooperation in the COVID-19 response effort, exchanged practical experience regarding efforts to combat foreign interference in domestic affairs and to maintain national security, discussed Russian-Chinese border and inter-regional trade, economic, science and technological cooperation, as well as the development of our inter-state and inter-parliamentary relations.

Taking part in the work of the Inter-Parliamentary Commission were Andrei Shevchenko, Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Federal Structure, Regional Policy, Local Government and Northern Affairs; Vladimir Dzhabarov, First Deputy Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs; Yury Arkharov, Deputy Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Social Policy; Andrei Klimov, Deputy Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs; State Duma deputies; and deputies of the National People's Congress of the People’s Republic of China.