China-Russia partnership 'key to balance US
Promoting settlement of local currency to replace US
dollar 'important for risk avoidance'
By Yang Sheng, Li Xuanmin and Bai Yunyi
March 22, 2021 "Information
Clearing House" - - "Global
As Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in
China for his two-day visit on Monday, two days
after the China-US meeting in Anchorage, Alaska,
Chinese experts said it's totally normal for the two
like-minded partners to coordinate crucial
information, but it doesn't mean the two major
powers are forming an anti-US alliance because this
would be unnecessary and outdated.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi
met Lavrov in Guilin, South China's Guangxi Zhuang
Autonomous Region, a popular tourist site, on
Monday. The atmosphere of the meeting was different
from the intense China-US Anchorage meeting. Lavrov
enjoyed a boat ride on Lijiang River, a beautiful
scenic spot, before he arrived at the venue for his
meeting with Wang.
Both sides have informed each other about the latest
development of their ties with the US. The two
foreign ministers urged the US to rethink the damage
it has caused to the international peace.
The two foreign ministers said the US should stop
its bullying activities, stop interfering in other
countries' internal affairs, and stop forming
cliques to confront other countries. All countries
should follow the principle of the UN Charter, to
boost democratization of international relations.
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The two foreign ministers also discussed the
Iranian nuclear deal, Afghan peace process,
Myanmar situation, Syria, climate change and UN
reform, according to a statement from the
Chinese Foreign Ministry.
Wang also greeted Lavrov with an elbow bump,
which replaced a handshake amid the COVID-19
pandemic, but the elbow greetings didn't happen
between Chinese and US chief diplomats in
Some Chinese netizens guess that choosing Guilin
to receive Lavrov and the Russian delegation is
because "Guilin" in Chinese is homophonic to the
meaning of "honorable neighbor."
The development of China-Russia ties does not
target any particular country, and the bilateral
relationship is open and aboveboard, unlike the
cliques with hidden conspiracies seen in a few
other countries, a Chinese Foreign Ministry
spokesperson said on Monday.
Spokesperson Hua Chunying made the remarks at a
daily press briefing in response to a question
on whether Lavrov's visit to China is an
intentional arrangement made after the China-US
high-level strategic dialogue in Alaska.
Chinese analysts said China and Russia will
exchange their opinions and stances, as well as
concerns on many international issues, and will
cooperate on diplomacy, politics and security,
and China's recent dialogue with the US is one
of the topics that both sides share interests.
The more unstable the world is, the greater the
need for China-Russia cooperation to continue,
Hua noted. "China and Russia, standing shoulder
to shoulder with close cooperation and firm
opposition to hegemony and bullying, have been a
pillar of world peace and stability," she said.
After the Alaska meeting with the US, China on
Monday not only engaged with Russia but also
made an exchange with North Korea, which also
pays high attention to US acts and policies on
foreign affairs. China has reaffirmed its stance
to uphold the political settlement of the Korean
Peninsula issue, and to preserve peace and
stability on the peninsula.
Chinese analysts said the US' policy on the
Korean Peninsula and its actions will bring
direct and crucial impact to many countries in
the region, and when the US treats these
countries as threats, the US is also becoming a
treat to them, and China, as a trustworthy and
powerful partner of these countries, has the
responsibility to make sure its partners or
neighbors with close ties are informed about its
significant dialogue with the US, which had
touched upon many international issues.
This shows that it's unrealistic for the US to
dominate the Korean Peninsula issue by engaging
only with its ally South Korea, they said.
Highlights of China-Russia strategic partnership:
-Nearly 30 meetings between the two countries'
leaders since 2013 -Bilateral trade volume exceeded
$10b in 2020 -A joint international scientific
research station on the moon to be built
2021 marks the 20th anniversary of
the signing of Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and
Friendly Cooperation Between the People's Republic
of China and the Russian Federation, and both sides
have agreed to renew the treaty, with the principle
Ji Zhiye, former head of the China Institutes of
Contemporary International Relations, told the
Global Times on Monday that the two countries have
agreed to renew the treaty, which means they don't
want to sign a new treaty of alliance, so the West
should not be oversensitive of the China-Russia
Although the two countries are not going to align
with each other, China and Russia still need to deal
with their common threats together based on the
flexible partnership, as the US has created many
challenges, such as sanctions and interference into
regional affairs, to interrupt the development of
the two countries, experts said.
In a group interview with Chinese media ahead of his
visit, Lavrov called for strengthening the autonomy
of the science and technology industry,
promoting the settlement of the local currency and
other international currencies that can replace the
US dollar and gradually move away from the
Western-controlled international payment system,
so that the risks posed by US or Western sanctions
against Russia and China can be reduced.
"Russia's suggestion will receive a positive
response from China as both sides have already
realized the huge risk of overreliance on the US
dollar and Western-controlled payment system" since
the financial crisis in 2008, and the latest massive
quantitative easing done by the US for boosting its
own economy also increased such concern, said Yang
Jin, an expert on China-Russia relations with the
Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing.
Promoting the settlement of local currency is a
trend for the economies worldwide, and when the US
withdrew from the Iranian nuclear deal, the EU core
members have also considered to establish a new
payment system to bypass SWIFT controlled by the US,
"Washington has been abusing SWIFT to arbitrarily
sanction any country at will, which sparked global
dissatisfaction. If China and Russia could work
together to challenge the dollar hegemony, a laundry
list of countries would echo the call and join the
new system," Dong Dengxin, director of the Finance
and Securities Institute at the Wuhan University of
Science and Technology, told the Global Times on
As the payment system is linked to the trading
system, Dong suggested that the new payment system
use the yuan as the clearing currency.
A number of Russian banks have joined the China
International Payment System to facilitate bilateral
trade settlements, the Russia Today reported.
"At first, the system could push forward a trial run
in Central Asian countries and countries and regions
along the routes of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
As its influence grows, the system is poised to draw
in other countries in Europe and ASEAN," Dong said.
But he cautioned that Washington may obstruct the
move by making SWIFT "exclusive," meaning that the
US will force countries already joining SWIFT to
Wang said at a press conference earlier this month
that China will cooperate with Russia to fight
"color revolutions" and disinformation to better
safeguard their national security and political
security. Chinese experts said these threats are
also mostly incited or created by Western countries,
especially the US, and they are not just targeting
China and Russia, but also their neighbors and
Yang said when China tried to promote its
cooperation with other countries along the routes of
the BRI, one of the major concerns is that the
projects with huge inputs could be ruined by just
one "color revolution" or political turmoil within
its partner country.
Russia is also suffering from such a problem, the
similar challenges happen frequently around Russia
in regions like Eastern Europe and Central Asia,
which seriously affects Russia's interests, experts
Although the size of the Russian economy is
relatively not big, it has inherited the advantages
in international security and military from the
former Soviet Union, so it has a significant
influence on intelligence or military in many
regions like the Middle East, Central Asia and
Europe, which are all key regions of the BRI
proposed by China, Yang said, noting that
cooperation with Russia could ensure the safety of
Chinese investments and the development of many
countries in those regions, "to protect them from
the harm of the 'color revolutions' instigated and
backed by the US," he said.
Not just in diplomacy and security, China and Russia
trade ties will also be boosted amid the COVID-19
pandemic and the US sanctions, said Xiao Bin, an
associate research fellow at the Chinese Academy of
Social Sciences' Institute of Russian, Eastern
European and Central Asian Studies.
He predicted that China-Russia trade will continue
to rise in the next few years, with the services
trade taking the lead.
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