The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was a two day summit held in Qingdao consisting of leaders and delegates from member states Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, and Pakistan. Together, these member nations constitute over 40% of the global population and a quarter of the world’s GDP. Here, rather than harsh verbiage about sanctions and Russian threats, one is treated to Confucian words about peace and harmony.
Xi Jinping: “Confucianism, as an integral part of the Chinese civilization, preaches the highest human ideal, which is that the world belongs to everyone, that all countries should live in peace and harmony, help each other, and be friendly as members of one big happy family.”
President Putin arrived in China last Friday. It was his first state visit to China after his re-election. Chinese President Xi Jinping was recently re-elected as well.
Alexei Petrov with the details of the high-profile meeting.
The entire crowd at the Tianjin ice hockey stadium is cheering. The Chinese fans are holding up signs in Russian. Russian and Chinese junior teams are on the ice. Everyone wants to talk to the honored guests.
– Our president plays hockey.
– I’m just a novice.
– I’ve been playing since I was three.
– Really? No way! I can’t believe it!
Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping took to the ice to drop the puck.
Here in Tianjin, the two presidents also exchanged gifts. This time, Vladimir Putin presented his colleague with a Russian banya made of Altai cedar. Xi Jinping was impressed with the quality of the wood.
—I wish I had one of those.
—I’m going to have to find a good place for it.
—It’s a unique bathhouse.
—It’s all made of the same type of wood.
—Thank you so much!
In response, Xi Jinping gave Vladimir Putin a guqin, a musical instrument similar to a harp, and a figurine of the Russian president, a fine piece of traditional clay modeling.
The two presidents also had a chance to savor some Chinese cuisine. At first, the chefs demonstrated their skills, then the two leaders gave it a try as well. That was the end of the long day of negotiations.
We’re in the heart of Beijing. Vladimir Putin’s cortege has arrived at the Great Hall of the People. An important visit, which the Chinese have already described as a historic event, is about to begin. Putin is receiving a warm welcome. An honor guard stands at attention. The red carpet has been laid out. A military orchestra is also present. Another interesting detail of this solemn ceremony is a group of Chinese children, prepared to meet the Russian and Chinese presidents. Even the first handshake demonstrates a close relationship between the leaders.
– How was your flight?
– Good, thank you.
The legendary Katyusha song was another surprise of the day.
The ceremony was followed by a number of meetings held both in private sessions and with delegations. The result is a set of signed agreements. The fields of cooperation include energy, space, technology, and investment.
President Putin: “Rosatom is to build another two reactor units for the Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant. We have also agreed to build another Russian-designed nuclear power plant in a new location in China. I’d like to point out that China is the only country we cooperate so closely with.”
Here’s the Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant, the largest joint project by Russia and China in the field of nuclear energy. It boasts state-of-the-art technology. The project will be funded by China. Russia has also become the largest supplier of gas to the Chinese market. Another large-scale project is the CR-929, a new, long-range airliner, which will be able to compete with Boeing and Airbus, in particular, in the quickly-growing Chinese market.
President Putin: “Last year, there was $87 billion worth of trade between our countries. We saw an increase in the trade of highly processed goods. If this increasing trend remains, then by the end of the year, we’ll be able to show a record number, the number we’ve been talking about over the past few years – 100 billion dollars.”
Xi Jinping, Chinese President: “Both sides agree that trade protectionism methods have been used extensively around the world lately. There’re a number of factors that cause instability and uncertainty in the recovery in the global economy. In this situation, China and Russia are actively promoting the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union.” Chinese businessmen are taking advantage of the situation.
—So despite difficulties in relations with the West, we’re cooperating with China?
Andrey Kostin, President and Chairman of the Management Board of VTB Bank:
—Everything’s going well with China. I’d say tensions with the West are motivating both sides to cooperate more closely.
China has been actively building high-speed railways. Over the last ten years, the country has become a leader in the field. Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping took one of these trains on their way from Beijing to Tianjin. It reaches a speed of about 185 miles per hour and was designed completely in China. An agreement between Russian Railways and its Chinese partner was signed right here, in this train car. It concerns building a high-speed rail line from Europe to China, passing through Russian territory.
Another sign of close Russian-Chinese ties is the medal of friendship awarded to Vladimir Putin. It’s a new medal, which has never been award to anyone else before.
President Putin: “I’m very grateful to my Chinese friends for this very special gift. I see this as an acknowledgment and an evaluation of Russia’s efforts to develop a comprehensive, strategic partnership with China.”
Large-scale Russian-Chinese projects will be discussed by businesses at the Eastern Economic Forum, which will be held in Vladivostok in the fall. Vladimir Putin has already invited Xi Jinping to the forum as a guest of honor.