After attending the summit of the Shanghai cooperation organization in Kazakhstan Russian president Dmitry Medvedev and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jin Tao flew to Moscow where they worked on a mammoth gas sale agreement from Russia to China guaranteed to provide the Chinese with energy security and Russia with hefty profits. The haggling over price continues but in the meantime the two presidents have issued a joint statement.
The joint statement is replete with the usual platitudes but the major thrust of the statement is that the two powers still have an interest in cutting the United States down to size while appearing statesmanlike.
China sided with Russia’s objection to US missile defense systems as the statement read “threats and challenges posed by missiles should first be handled through political and diplomatic means” particularly when “global strategic balance needs to be maintained and security nation concerns of various nations need to be accommodated.” This means the US should not act and build missile systems without prior Russian approval.
The two sides lauded the China-Russia strategic partnership as “an important factor for peace, stability and prosperity of the Asia Pacific region.” This is a signal that in the growing tension between China on the one side and countries such as Japan and Vietnam on the other, Russia was more aligned with China.
Both sides were in agreement on the need to further dilute the previous US-European dominance in international affairs. First they praised the United Nations where the two sides have a veto power. They would like representativeness of the UN Security Council to be boosted, meaning that additional states with permanent membership and a veto power should be added. The fly in the ointment is whether China would agree to Indian membership and who would be the African representative-South Africa or Nigeria.
In global economics the two countries emphasize the role of the G 20 (where China, India Brazil etc. are members) over the G8 and called for reforming the international currency (read downgrading the status of the dollar) and fighting trade protectionism (shorthand for policies that would exclude cheap Chinese exports or limit Russian acquisition of gas distribution pipelines in Europe).
On the Korean issue, both sides believe that it is possible to solve the problem only via the six party talks meaning that the policy cover currently favored by South Korea and Japan of isolating North Korea is ruled out.
On the similar Iranian crisis, the two countries repeated the formula of supporting peaceful nuclear power together with greater Iranian transparency to assure the international community (we will be posting soon a commentary on the two-faced policy towards Iran)
The sharpest criticism for the West came in the paragraph on West Asia (Middle East from the Chinese perspective) and North Africa meaning Syria and Libya. While the international community could provide “constructive supports for the restoration of stability” this could not extend to interference “in the internal processes of the countries in the region”. The statement essentially accused NATO of failing to abide by UN Security Council resolutions. According to the joint statement the West “should not misread or abuse them.” China and Russia pledged to support the African Union’s mediation efforts in Libya that would effectively lift the pressure from Qaddafi.
Source material can be found at this site.