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China Pledges Closer Ties With Russia, Despite Western Warnings

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China and Russia pledged Tuesday to forge ever-closer economic relations despite opposition from the West following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year. China supported expanded cross-border connectivity with Russia as well as stronger mutual trade and investment cooperation.

Tuesday’s “in-depth” talks between the Russian minister of economic development and the Chinese minister of commerce took place in Beijing at the same time that Wang Yi, China’s top diplomat, was in Moscow for strategic talks that confirmed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s trip to Beijing the following month.

According to a release From Wang Yi’s Ministry, during the talks in Beijing, Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao stated that Sino-Russian economic and trade cooperation had continued to grow and become more “solid” under the “strategic guidance” of the two heads of state.

According to the most recent Chinese customs statistics, Chinese imports of Russian commodities increased by 3% from a year earlier to $11.5 billion in August, reversing a fall of 8% in July.

In light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Beijing has dismissed Western criticism of its expanding relationship with Moscow. It maintains that the relationships do not violate international rules and that China is free to work with any nation it chooses.

Without mentioning any specific nations, the Group of Seven ministers once again urged others to “cease any and all assistance to Russia’s war of aggression or face severe costs.”

As a region of cross-border trade and business, the Russian Far East, which borders China and North Korea, has acquired new strategic significance.

As Moscow diversifies its exports of commodities away from Europe, which it now considers politically “unfriendly,” China’s Xuan Yuan Industrial Development and Russia’s United Oil- and Gas-Chemical Co. agreed to build a transshipment oil complex close to a railway bridge connecting the Russian town of Nizhneleninskoye to China’s Tongjiang last week.

The Far East of Russia, where around 70% of the nation’s seafood is caught, also aims to increase marine product exports to China after Beijing prohibited seafood from Japan as a result of the leaking of radioactive water from the destroyed Fukushima plant into the ocean.

Additionally, according to Chinese official media, there is an increasing “necessity” for China and Russia to increase grain trade due to the persistent shortage of supply worldwide. China’s food security will be boosted by the development of a grain corridor that connects Russia to Heilongjiang, its northeastern breadbasket.

Earlier in September, Chinese President Xi Jinping stated that Heilongjiang should serve as a “pivotal” entryway for China’s opening up in the north and that the province should actively contribute to preserving the security of the country’s food, energy, and military systems.

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