Putin, describing China and Mongolia as friendly neighbors based on equality, respect and mutual benefits, said Russian Federation wants to work with the two countries to cooperate on infrastructure construction, transportation and customs facilitation.
“We know when USA will get new missile threatening Russia’s nuclear capability”, Putin said at a meeting with the heads of global news agencies at the St. Petersburg worldwide Economic Forum (SPIEF) on Friday. “We need the money”, Putin admitted this week after data showed May’s federal budget deficit stood at 5.5 percent of gross domestic product, wider than the government’s 3 percent target. “We will also consider the intentions of other countries to join our work”, Putin said, adding that admitting more members will turn the organization into a “very powerful” association that “commands respect and is relevant both in the region and worldwide”.
In the first phase of cooperation, the two sides should set up a free trade area, he said, stressing that with more and more countries in the region interested in joining the ranks, the bloc needs to be open and inclusive. Earlier this month, three Russian navy ships and a Chinese frigate passed through the disputed East China Sea at the same time, but there was no confirmation that the move was planned. The islands are administered by Japan but claimed by China and Taiwan.
Anti-Americanism has also united the two countries, but sheer pragmatism makes it unlikely that Moscow and Beijing will enter into any formal military alliance against the United States. Russian Federation is seeking deeper ties with China to offset the sanctions of Western powers, while China needs Russia’s support against USA presence in the East and South China Seas.
Steven Pifer, a former United States ambassador to Ukraine, said there was a “long history in Moscow of saying what they’re doing is in response to what you guys did, even though they planned it in advance”. The country’s oil exploration project in the South China Sea also meant Russian Federation could not side exclusively with China, said Wong.
Diplomatic relations have also been at a low as a result of Russia’s actions in Syria, where Russian forces are assisting the regime of Bashar al Assad.
While the U.S. is pushing its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to ‘team up, ‘ the idea develops resistance, especially in countries that have a history of good relations with Russian Federation like France and Greece, or Germany that drew lesson from countering Russian Federation in WWI and WWII.
China will be keen to enlist Russia’s support for its “One Belt, One Road” development strategy.
“China is a large market for commodities and a source for capital, technology, and infrastructure”, he said.
The Belt and Road Initiative, which also includes the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013.