Gordon L. Bowen, Ph.D.
Political Science and International Relations departments
Mary Baldwin College
Staunton, VA USA 24401
Associated Press reported from Beijing on December 3, 2002 the following:
"Russia, China express solidarity in foreign affairs, vow to deepen cooperation"
The leaders of Russia and China vowed Monday to strengthen their "strategic partnership" and declared common positions on key foreign policy fronts, urging peaceful solutions in Iraq and North Korea and promising to support each other's battles with Muslim separatists.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and China's Jiang Zemin signed a 13-page joint declaration calling for a "multipolar world" - a phrase used by both to express dissatisfaction with U.S. global dominance.
Putin emphasized that Russia - which spans Europe and Asia - wants partners and power in both the East and West.
"We're absolutely certain that the special strategic relationship between Russia and China will not only enable us to solve the problems facing our countries, but also will create a basis for stability in the world," Putin said. His two-day visit comes after a year in which he improved relations with the United States and Europe by supporting the international anti-terror campaign and accepting NATO enlargement.
Putin spoke to students at Peking University early Tuesday, saying that Russia is eager to build post-Soviet bonds based on friendship and equality with other governments.
"We are counting on others to relate to us in the same way," Putin said. However, he added, "If we need a different approach, we will of course react adequately."
Monday's statement called for a nuclear-free Korean peninsula and appealed to the United States and North Korea to engage in dialogue and stick to a 1994 agreement for the North to give up its nuclear program in exchange for foreign energy aid.
North Korea said last month that the 1994 agreement had collapsed after the United States, South Korea, Japan and the 15-nation European Union suspended fuel oil supplies. The cutoff was meant to punish the North for starting a new nuclear weapons program.
The statement urged the "normalization of relations" between Washington and Pyongyang.
"At this stage we are talking about a political dialogue within the framework of which any questions could be discussed - including those that raise concerns for either America or North Korea," said Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher welcomed the appeal to North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program.
"I think our view is that the more often the international community makes clear to the North Koreans that only by complying will they be able to obtain the benefits they seek from the international community," Boucher said.
Jiang and Putin also said the conflict over weapons of mass destruction in Iraq can only be solved through diplomatic means and pledged to "continue to work together within the United Nations" to ensure that U.N. Security Council resolutions are not violated.
The United States has threatened war to disarm Iraq if it violates the latest Security Council resolution, but Russia and China insist that only the council can make that decision. Both are permanent council members with power to veto U.N. actions.
Moscow and Beijing have tried to restrain U.S. dominance by insisting that the United Nations should have the last word in international affairs.
Putin and Jiang also offered each other mutual backing for China in its struggle against separatists in its Muslim northwest and Russia's war in predominantly Muslim Chechnya.
The leaders accused other governments of "double standards" on terrorism and human rights, saying they reject "the use of human rights questions as a lever for pressure in international relations."
They said "terrorists and separatists" in Chechnya and northwestern China are international terrorists who "should be condemned and become the object of a common fight on the part of all the states of the world."
Putin also met with Premier Zhu Rongzhi, legislative chief Li Peng and Hu Jintao, who replaced Jiang as Communist Party leader last month and is expected to become president in March.
Ivanov said Russia was assured "there will be complete continuity as regards the future of our relations," which he said is "very important."
This page last updated December 04, 2002
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