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China, Russia buttress multilateralism

Li Xing

Chinese President Xi Jinping on July 8 held a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin. This was the fourth phone conversation between the two top leaders this year. It is meaningful to both countries and to the international community.

The novel coronavirus pandemic is tearing the world apart. The US, the superpower that should have played a leading role in organizing international efforts to combat the deadly virus, has not only performed badly in controlling the domestic spread of the disease, but it also has repeatedly pulled out from international organizations such as the World Health Organization, which is crucial to fight the pandemic. Furthermore, the US and China, the two largest global economies, have witnessed their ties further deteriorating. This has contributed to unrest throughout the world.

Against this backdrop, a conversation between the top leaders of China and Russia is very important. President Xi and President Putin have expressed their firm support for each other on significant issues. These include the national security law for Hong Kong and Russia’s recent constitutional amendments. The outcome of this call will help deepen mutual understanding and trust between the two countries.

As regional great powers, more stable China-Russia ties are conductive to maintain regional stability. With their most recent call, both Xi and Putin pledged to strengthen multilateral frameworks and safeguard global stability. This will help the international community overcome common threats.

Recently, some Western countries bashed China over the national security law for Hong Kong. However, Putin said Russia firmly supports China’s efforts to safeguard national security in Hong Kong. Russia, a permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC), is supporting China on this matter, and it is vital.

This is because Russia is a country of considerable prestige in the UN. It is capable of influencing many countries to bolster China’s rightful position to safeguard national security.

President Xi said that Russia’s passage of a set of constitutional amendments has fully reflected the Russian people’s support for the Russian government and approval of its governance philosophy. He said China will always firmly support Russia’s development path that fits its own national conditions. After all, in a diverse world, every country should adopt its own path for development without external interference. The mutual support between the two countries on issues of concern embodies the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era has arrived at a higher level.

In addition, Putin said Russia regards its relations with China as the top foreign policy priority. This shows in Russia’s diplomacy, China policy comes as the most important one. China also highly underlines its partnership with Russia. This means that no matter how the international situation changes, or how certain countries or politicians hostile toward Beijing and Moscow try to sow discord in, divide, or crack the relations between China and Russia, China-Russia relations are unshakable.

President Xi also mentioned that China stands ready to work with Russia to safeguard multilateralism and oppose hegemonism and unilateralism.

Certain powerful country is pursuing protectionism, trying to shun the responsibility it is supposed to assume. In this context, the willingness to defend multilateralism from China and Russia, two emerging economies and permanent members of the UNSC, is of positive progress and development of the world.

China has proposed the notion of building a community with a shared future for humanity. China emphasizes mutual respect and win-win cooperation, rather than pursue unilateralism and selfish interests. Great powers cannot do whatever they want or undermine international rules and mechanism by virtue of their strength. Powerful countries should undertake more international responsibilities. Unfortunately, not all great powers perform as they are supposed to do. Therefore, ideas from China and Russia regarding multilateralism for global strategic stability and security are positive messages to the international community.

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