By Li Hui
Chinese President Xi Jinping will pay a state visit to Russia and attend the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. It will be the eighth visit of President Xi to Russia since 2013.
This year is a historic milestone for China-Russia relations as it marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. 2019 is also the tenth year since I assumed position as Chinese Ambassador to Russia.
It has been an honor of me to witness multiple highlights of the development of bilateral relations during the past decade though this period only accounts for one-seventh of the seventy-year history of China-Russia relations.
At present, China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation is at the best time of history. Over the past years, the two countries have seen frequent high-level exchanges, deepening political mutual trust, increasing bilateral trade volume and various people-to-people and cultural exchanges.
The head-of-state diplomacy between the two countries was a major highlight among these interactions. President Xi and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have met each other for 30 times from President Xi’s state visit to Russia for the first time in March, 2013 to President Putin’s attendance at the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation this April.
The high-frequent exchanges between the two heads of state, which is hardly seen in any other relations between major countries, have not only written a new chapter of China-Russia head-of-state diplomacy, but also led bilateral relations into the best time of history.
As Chinese Ambassador to Russia, I’m honored to be a part of all mutual visits between President Xi and President Putin. I’ll never forget all those significant moments of China-Russia relations.
President Putin was the first head of a foreign country to congratulate General Secretary Xi after the latter was elected the Chinese President in March, 2013. Russia was also the first foreign country that President Xi visited. He was welcomed with a grand ceremony, including the deployment of a presidential cavalry unit outside the Grand Kremlin Palace, which was the first time in Russian history.
During an eight-hour meeting, President Xi and President Putin reached important consensus to translate advantages of high-level political relations between the two countries into tangible outcomes, guiding bilateral relations for long-term, healthy, and stable development.
In 2015, President Xi went to Russia to attend the 70th victory anniversary of Great Patriotic War and President Putin came to China to attend the commemorative events marking the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War.
At the celebration held at the Red Square, President Putin left the seat by his right, the most honorable place, to President Xi, and the Combined Honor Guard of the People’s Liberation Army was arranged to cap off the performance of foreign phalanxes.
The two heads of state demonstrated with actions that China and Russia are committed to safeguarding the victory of the World War Ⅱ and the post-war international order with the United Nations at the core.
Then In July 2017, President Xi paid a state visit to Russia. During his stay, President Putin presented him the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, one of Russia’s highest honors, in the Kremlin. One year later, President Xi awarded President Putin with China’s first-ever Friendship Medal at Great Hall of the People.
I could remember a host of such precious moments. President Xi went to Sochi to attend and congratulate on the opening ceremony of the 22nd Winter Olympics. President Putin went to Beijing twice to attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, showing his support for the Belt and Road construction.
The list goes on and on. President Xi gave a birthday cake in person to President Putin at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting held in Bali. The two heads of state also jointly visited student representatives survived in the earthquake of southwestern China’s Sichuan province, as well as the Russian teachers and classmates who once helped the Chinese students at the Ocean All-Russia Children’s Care Center in Vladivostok.
Through mutual support and sincere exchanges, the friendship between the two heads of state and between the two peoples has been increasingly enhanced.
At the same time, the two countries have also witnessed deepening strategic coordination and strengthened practical cooperation.
Under the guidance of President Xi and President Putin, China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation has achieved constant progress, opening up and golden era of the relations between the two countries.
It has been a privilege for me to have the opportunity to witness and contribute to the golden era of China-Russia relations!
I believe that at a new staring point of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Russia, this golden era will be more shining under the guidance of the two heads of state.
(The author is the Chinese Ambassador to Russia)
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