Monday, May 26, 2008

'Fate Of World Peace, Order Lies In Future Of China-Russia Ties'

This will probably prove to be one of the most important news stories of the decade, but most of the world's media barely noticed.

From the Daily Times :
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev praised on Saturday recent close ties between Moscow and Beijing as a key to global stability and said the two countries wanted to strengthen their strategic partnership.

In remarks that sounded like a veiled reference to the United States, Medvedev rejected what he said was opposition to Russian-Chinese cooperation. “Some don’t like such strategic cooperation between our countries, but we understand that this cooperation serves the interests of our people, and we will strengthen it, regardless of whether others like it or not,” he said, speaking at a university a day after he and Chinese President Hu Jintao criticized US missile defense plans.

“Russian-Chinese relations are one of the most important factors of maintaining stability in modern conditions,” he said. The former Cold War rivals have forged close political, military and commercial ties since the Soviet collapse, trying to counter what they see as US global dominance. On Friday, Medvedev and Hu said they wanted to see the peaceful use of space and rejected the deployment of weapons there, a reference to US plans for an orbiting missile-defence system.

In Saturday’s appearance at elite Tsinghua University, Hu’s alma mater, Medvedev never mentioned the United States by name and said the Russian-Chinese alliance “is not directed against any other nation. “It is aimed at maintaining a global balance,” he said. Medvedev said Russia and China support international law and a “decisive role” for the United Nations. Moscow has accused Washington and other Western governments of abusing international law in Iraq and Kosovo.

Russia also strengthened its role as a supplier to China’s booming nuclear power industry Friday, signing a US$1 billion deal to build a fuel enrichment facility and supply uranium. The joint Russian-Chinese criticism of US missile defence plans appeared to raise the stakes for Washington, which has been trying to persuade Beijing and especially Moscow not to see them as a threat. The diplomatic cooperation masks Russian unease at China’s growing power, and differences over military and energy sales. The White House said Friday it was disappointed that Medvedev had not changed the opposition expressed by his predecessor, Vladimir Putin. “We’re going to work with them to work through these concerns, and we think we can resolve any concerns that anyone has about this and the true nature of the programme,” White House spokesman Tony Fratto said.

After a slow warming in the 1990s, Beijing and Moscow have in recent years joined together in opposing Kovoso’s independence and on Iran’s nuclear crisis. The two have held joint military manoeuvres on each other’s turf and created a regional security grouping, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, to keep the West out of energy-rich Central Asia.