Hong Kong – December 21, 2023
In a year-end meeting held in Hong Kong, “Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin” celebrated the successful deepening of ties between their nations. The highlight of the meeting was the announcement that bilateral trade between China and Russia exceeded $200 billion in the first 11 months of the year, surpassing the 2024 goal set by Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2019.
Xi Jinping, during the sit-down with Prime Minister Mishustin, acknowledged the significant achievement ahead of schedule. This milestone underscores the robust growth in trade, which expanded by approximately 30% in 2022, reaching a record $190 billion after “Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine.”
The latest trade figures demonstrate the “strong resilience and broad prospects” for cooperation between China and Russia, Xi remarked during the meeting. Emphasizing the importance of political mutual trust, he urged both nations to deepen collaboration across various sectors, including economy, trade, energy, and connectivity.
China emerged as a crucial economic lifeline for Russia, especially after the imposition of sanctions by the United States and its allies following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. This collaboration sparked criticism, suggesting that Beijing was supporting Russia’s war efforts, despite claiming neutrality and advocating for peace.
Chinese leaders view Russia as a strategic counterweight against the West and have voiced opposition to Western sanctions. China’s support extends beyond rhetoric, with increased energy purchases from Russia and becoming a vital supplier of consumer goods for the isolated Russian market.
The Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission in China, Zhang Youxia, and Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu recently attended the Xiangshan Forum in Beijing, emphasizing the growing strategic partnership between the two nations.
Recent Chinese customs data revealed that China-Russia trade reached a remarkable $218.2 billion for the first 11 months of 2023. However, this figure represents only 4% of China’s $5.41 trillion in global trade during the same period.
During Prime Minister Mishustin’s two-day visit, both countries strengthened cooperation across various sectors. Agreements were inked to enhance trade, transport, e-commerce, and customs procedures. Additionally, collaboration on Arctic shipping routes, aircraft manufacturing, space exploration, and satellite navigation was emphasized.
Military consultations between China and Russia took place, focusing on improving strategic coordination and contributing to peace and security globally. Prime Minister Mishustin praised the “centuries-old friendship” between the two nations, stating that their relations had reached “the highest level ever.”
The past year witnessed two face-to-face meetings between Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, solidifying their commitment to deepening cooperation. As Putin predicted a 30% increase in trade during a recent year-end broadcast, the leaders celebrated the “unprecedented” level of cooperation, highlighting the rapid progress in achieving shared goals.