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Dmitry Medvedev: We intend to deepen our strategic partnership in every possible way
On the eve of the visit to China, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev answered questions from the Chinese newspaper Renmin Ribao
Question: Russia and China are good neighbors, reliable partners and friends. The leadership of our states regularly meets and steadily strengthens the Russian-Chinese relations of a comprehensive strategic partnership, which have already become an example of peaceful coexistence and mutually beneficial partnership. Tell me, Mr. Prime Minister, how do you assess the relations between Russia and China?
For several hundred years, the peoples of our countries have learned to understand each other, to interact and make friends. So, according to Chinese traditions, we can be considered “Lao Penguo” (long-time friends). And today, the multifaceted ties of Russia and China are the best in their history. It is in the full sense of the word mutually beneficial cooperation, in which there are no senior and junior, leading and slave.
We intend to deepen our strategic partnership in every possible way. And it's not just political and economic expediency. The main thing is that the citizens of the two countries have a great interest in each other. You probably know that in Russia now more and more people are learning Chinese. In turn, the number of Russian language courses is growing in China, which means that people want to learn more about modern Russia.
Since 2010, the PRC firmly holds the position of the largest trading partner of our country. Strategic projects in the energy sector are being implemented, cooperation is being developed in high-tech industries - space, aircraft construction, nuclear power engineering, military-technical cooperation. We pay great attention to the investment and financial component of our practical ties. The social base of bilateral relations, direct contacts between people is also expanding.
In Russia there is a saying: a close neighbor is better than a distant relative. It fully reflects the relations between Russia and China, whose common long border has long been a zone of lasting peace, friendship and multifaceted cooperation.
I believe that in recent years we have managed to build a clear system for coordinating joint work and long-term development plans. A vivid example is regular contacts at the level of heads of government, which take place from 1996 year. And during my visit to China, we will hold Mr. Li Keqiang
I want to emphasize that our interaction in international affairs is global and truly strategic in nature, becoming an increasingly significant factor in world politics. Russia and China effectively cooperate in various multilateral formats, primarily in the UN, the G20, BRICS, the SCO, carefully and pragmatically approach the solution of the most pressing problems of our time, respect the right of every people to an independent choice of development path. We are resolute opponents of pressure on sovereign states, including through unilateral sanctions, forceful methods, the use of double standards.
I think that if the relations between so many other countries resembled Russian-Chinese relations, then it would only benefit the whole world. As the ancient Chinese proverb says, the best fight is the one that did not exist.
- The Russian and Chinese economies are characterized by a high degree of complementarity, which is one of the drivers of the constant development of bilateral relations in the spirit of mutually beneficial partnership. What, in your opinion, new points of growth of Russian-Chinese trade and economic cooperation will appear in the future?
"We, our Chinese partners, agree that a high level of trust and mutual understanding in the political sphere should also help in the trade, economic, humanitarian and other areas.
Recently, there has been an intensification of bilateral contacts at all levels. China has created the most extensive and multilevel mechanism of bilateral cooperation. We do not have such a mechanism with any country. In addition to the Russian-Chinese commission for the preparation of regular meetings of heads of government, intergovernmental Russian-Chinese commissions on energy, humanitarian and investment cooperation at the level of deputy chairmen of governments have been established in recent years.
Since 2010, China has been the leader in terms of mutual trade with Russia. Our countries face a large-scale task - to increase the bilateral trade to 2020 billion US dollars by the year of the year. And we are determined to fulfill it.
The situation in the global economy is now complicated, and this affects all countries without exception. This year, there was a tendency to reduce the overall volume of trade between Russia and China. This happened mainly due to the fall in oil prices. The structure of trade turnover has changed, and now agricultural products and products with high added value began to take an increasing share in Russian exports. In particular, following the results of the first ten months of 2015 in our exports to the PRC, the share of food and agricultural products, metals and products from them, supplies of chemical and even textile products increased. This contributes to the diversification of the Russian economy, encourages companies to more actively integrate into the world economy, find their niches in production and promotion of products with high added value to the markets.
Our common goal is to remove barriers in mutual trade and investment. We expect that in the coming years there will be the launch of the largest projects that will add tens of billions of dollars to our trade and will allow us to return to a stable positive trajectory.
Bilateral investment cooperation, which can stimulate trade, is gaining momentum. An effective base has been created for its successful development. I mean 58 major joint investment projects that were approved by 18 June this year in St. Petersburg at the second meeting of the Russian-Chinese intergovernmental commission for investment cooperation.
Our cooperation is intensifying along the line of the Eurasian Economic Union. Since 2012, an early warning mechanism has been in place for sensitive goods of mutual trade. At the stage of agreement, an agreement on the exchange of information on goods and vehicles that move across the customs borders of the EEMP and PRC. This agreement will minimize the use of gray schemes in trading.
It was decided to start negotiations on the preparation of an agreement on trade and economic cooperation between the EEMP and the People's Republic of China. This agreement will provide favorable conditions for the development of practical cooperation and attraction of investments for the long term, create mechanisms for simplifying and stimulating trade, bring our practices in the sphere of standards, technical requirements and customs administration rules closer.
- Russia and China have a rich experience in holding interstate thematic years. Come to the end of the year of youth exchanges. How do you evaluate their results? What are your expectations regarding the upcoming Russian-Chinese media years?
- In the modern world, personal communication between people is becoming an increasingly important resource in international relations, helping to build trust and mutual understanding. "Nothing can inspire people and help them like friendship," said Chinese writer Ba Jin.
A good incentive for the development of our humanitarian dialogue is the large-scale thematic events at the state level, which recently took place in our countries. First we exchanged national years, then years of languages and tourism. All of them turned out to be successful, they allowed the peoples of our countries to get to know each other, to learn more about each other's culture, history, modern life, and, most importantly, to find new friends.
Another important joint action is now being completed, the main participants of which are young people of Russia and China. The year of youth exchanges has become a kind of baton from older people to a new generation seeking to discover the Celestial Empire.
To list all the events of this Year is quite difficult - there were more than 600. These are summer schools and camps, meetings of young scientists and entrepreneurs, Olympiads on knowledge of Russian and Chinese languages, forums and conferences, concerts and cinema weeks, art exhibitions and sports competitions, educational exchanges of students and schoolchildren. The performance of the mixed Russian-Chinese youth orchestra under the baton of our outstanding conductor Valery Gergiev caused a great resonance.
Years of youth covered various areas of our humanitarian cooperation - politics, economy, culture, sports, tourism, science and education, information and computer technologies.
Since last year, a project has begun to be implemented on the annual exchange of youth delegations of Russia and China as part of 100 people. Together we have managed to ensure that contacts in this area have become massive and regular. It is also very important that the young people of our countries celebrated together
I believe that the holding of this large-scale action helped to look at the problems of the modern world in a new way - from the standpoint of a generation that will soon have to take responsibility for solving them.
The solemn closing of the years of youth exchanges is timed to coincide with the
We are now completing the preparation of a detailed action plan, which contains more than 100 joint projects. These are filming of films, serials and documentaries, translation and publication of books, book exhibitions. There are great prospects in cooperation in the field of new media, for which the future of the world media. During my visit to China, I will take part in the World Internet Forum in Uchzhen.
I am sure that we will not limit ourselves to holding the Russian-Chinese media years. There are many more spheres in which we can establish a productive dialogue. We will work together on this.
- In the Ufa Declaration of the Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, published in July this year, it is noted that the parties support the initiative of China to build the economic belt of the Silk Road. How does the SCO cooperate with China and other member countries on the construction of the economic belt of the Silk Road? What role can Russia play in this process?
- China is not only a friend to us, but also one of the key economic partners. That is why we are actively developing the initiative to link the Eurasian Economic Union and the Chinese project "The Economic Belt of the Silk Road." They identified for themselves a number of priority areas for cooperation: encouraging mutual investment, joint implementation of large-scale projects, creation of industrial parks and cross-border economic cooperation zones.
We do not seek integration in one direction due to restrictions in the other. Of course, for us the priority is the Eurasian Economic Union, but we are beginning to actively cooperate with China within the framework of the SREB implementation, while not abandoning the idea of a single economic space from Lisbon to Vladivostok. We believe that these projects can develop harmoniously.
In August of this year, the first meeting of the Inter-MFA group was held, at which the issues of filling the project of the interface between the EAEU and the SREB with concrete were discussed. One of the main elements of the interface should be a modern transport and infrastructure system. Here, first of all, it is necessary to consider routes that will increase the reliability of transport corridors, including the Trans-Siberian Railway and the free port area of Vladivostok - the territory in the Far East, which will include key ports in the region. It is also the space of the Eurasian Union, the development of transport corridors from China through Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus to the countries of the European Union.
For the business of all our countries, the real outcome of the EAEC interface and the economic belt of the Silk Road should be the facilitation of trade and better protection of mutual investment between the member states of the EEMP and the PRC. It is about facilitating trade procedures for the movement of goods across the border, the removal of regulatory barriers, cooperation in high-tech sectors such as information technology, medical and educational services, electronic commerce and energy efficiency.
I believe that, having created a co-development space in Eurasia, we will show an example of a responsible and real partnership in integration issues, we can expand our cooperation not only in the field of energy supply, but also in high-tech, including modern technologies in transport, industry, construction, communication, agriculture.
- Within the framework of the SCO, much attention is paid to cooperation in the field of Internet security. At the beginning of this year, the SCO member states submitted to the United Nations a draft of the Rules of Conduct for International Information Security (IIB). What, from your point of view, is the basis of international cooperation in the field of security on the Internet?
- The importance of ensuring international information security today can not be overemphasized. Modern information and communication technologies have become increasingly used for military-political confrontation. In addition, Internet technologies were adopted by terrorists and criminals. With all these problems, many countries are constantly confronted.
These threats cannot be ignored. It is obvious that, before it is too late, it is necessary to prevent the criminalization of the Internet, to guarantee respect for human rights in the digital sphere. To do this in the absence of a full-fledged international legal framework for cooperation in the field of information security is extremely difficult, therefore the first step in creating an international security system in this area could be the adoption of a code or rules of conduct in the form of soft law.
The universal rules of responsible behavior of states in the information space are the most sought-after and promising form of international cooperation in combating threats in the IIB sphere. This is what the SCO countries were guided by when developing Rules of conduct in the field of ensuring international information security. The document is open to suggestions and comments from all interested countries. The main idea of this initiative - the prevention of conflicts and aggression in the information space, keeping it peaceful and free - is supported by an absolute majority of states.
This fact confirms that we are moving in the right direction. The relevance of such unification initiatives aimed at preventing conflicts in the digital environment is increasing every day. Politicians and politicians must advance technical progress and find timely solutions before technology creates a new reality.
- AliExpress’s online trading platform, a subsidiary of Alibaba, founded by Chinese entrepreneur Ma Yun, is already the largest e-commerce platform in Russia. AliExpress became the first company to facilitate cross-border purchases for residents of regions and villages; many people in Russia are starting to buy Chinese goods through AliExpress. Thus, the Internet Plus becomes the engine of economic development, the results of which are shared by Russia and China. How does Russia feel about economic cooperation through the global network in the era of “Internet plus”, what kind of policy exists in this area in Russia?
- We value our relationship and strive to establish even closer cooperation in the most promising areas, including e-commerce, which in recent years has been developing rapidly throughout the world.
In Russia, they also appreciated the convenience of Internet trading. We have quite a lot of online stores that carry out delivery within the country, and some - and to the CIS countries. It is quick and profitable for both buyers and sellers. For 2014 year more than 8 million Russians bought clothes and shoes online. Also, all purchases for state and municipal needs (business-to-government segment), with the exception of purchases conducted in a closed way, are carried out in electronic form.
While we do not have our own large Internet site to promote Russian brands abroad. This year we launched an Internet project that allows Russian producers of casual clothes and footwear to use the AliExpress trading platform free of charge to sell their goods. In the AliExpress catalog, Russian-made goods are marked as "Made in Russia", the prices are indicated in rubles. It is expected that by the end of this year on AliExpress will be represented the order of 100 domestic brands of clothing and accessories. I am sure they will be interested in those who live in Russia and foreign buyers.
Of course, we will strive to create our own similar projects. To do this, we are improving the logistics system and export legislation. The very procedure of exporting retail goods abroad has already become easier. Exporters are exempted from payment of some customs duties (for the performance of customs operations when exporting goods that are not subject to export customs duties and are sent in international postal items). The declaration for express cargo can be submitted electronically.
In the field of development of remote sales, the experience of your country is very useful for us. We carefully study China's experiment to establish a pilot zone of cross-border electronic commerce in Hangzhou, whose goal is to build an entire industrial chain of e-commerce and to formulate the legal framework and rules of work in this area.
Material published on Government website RF.