China-Russia ties: Friendship, like wine, tends to get better with age
By Wang Mengjie

The best wines tend to be aged. So too for friendship. China and Russia have cherished a solid friendship since they established diplomatic relations in 1949.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin exchanged congratulatory messages on the 70th anniversary Wednesday, hailing the bilateral ties which have achieved the highest level among major-country relations in terms of mutual trust, coordination and strategic value.


A new milestone in China-Russia relations

During his most recent visit to Russia, Xi signed a joint statement with Putin on elevating bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era.

That means the two sides will closely coordinate with each other in aligning their development strategies, expand mutually beneficial cooperation in trade and investment, and strengthen bilateral ties overall as China is ready to work with Russia to foster stronger synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).

As a symbol of this friendship between neighbors, Xi presented the Friendship Medal, China's highest state honor for foreigners, to Putin during a trip last year, signaling the Chinese people's profound respect for the Russian leader.

China, Russia to double trade volume, intensify cooperation

In order to guide the development of economic cooperation, Beijing and Moscow have increased high-level visits. During his three-day visit to Russia in September, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang vowed to further enhance cooperation in trade, energy and other areas, setting a goal to double bilateral trade volume

China has been Russia's top trading partner for nine years running. Last year, two-way trade surged by 27.1 percent, breaking the 100-billion-U.S.-dollar mark for the first time. 

Noting that both countries support multilateralism and free trade, Li said China has further opened up its manufacturing sector and invited Russian companies to seize the opportunity and invest in China. 


Honoree Kulikova dedicates life's work to Russia-China friendship

The two sides also encourage and support exchanges between their peoples. Russian Galina Kulikova, who was among the recipients of the Friendship Medal in 2019, is a long-term international friend of China who has been involved in the country's tremendous changes.

"I want to thank President Xi for giving me this honor. As long as I live, I will continue my beloved work. I have dedicated myself to this and will devote the rest of my life to it," she said. "China has achieved a lot during the seven decades. The achievement cannot be separated from the Chinese people's hardwork and the (Communist) Party's leadership." 

Kulikova is the first deputy chair of the Russia-China Friendship Association and "worked in the association for more than six decades and spends almost all my life here in China."

(Cover: Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) meets his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow, June 6, 2019. /Xinhua Photo)