Lavrov outlines the way forward for relations - News - China Daily Asia Editorâ€™s note: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is scheduled to arrive in Beijing on Tuesday morning for a one-day visit. He will call on President Xi Jinping and hold a key meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. Ahead of his visit on Monday, Lavrov gave China Daily an exclusive interview to share with readers his thoughts on issues including bilateral ties, anti-terrorism efforts and coordination on global affairs. Sergey Lavrov, Russian foreign minister Question 1 China and Russia have engaged in comprehensive strategic political, economic and military cooperation. In 2014-15 they will celebrate the Year of Youth, which will take their bilateral relations to a yet higher level. What is your assessment of these relations and the cooperation between China and Russia? In recent years, the comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation between Russia and China has reached an unprecedented level, which is beneficial for the development within our countries and the improvement of their international role. The greatest degree of mutual trust, first and foremost in the political sphere â€” to which regular high-level confidential meetings attest â€” is a sound basis for further progress in each and every area. China is Russiaâ€™s major trading partner. According to the figures for the last year, despite the unfavorable trends in the world economy we managed to keep our trade volume high. In fact, it reached $88.8 billion. There is also an increase in our mutual investments. We are enhancing our energy cooperation and implementing strategic arrangements on increasing Russian oil supplies to the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China. In addition, China has engaged in a gas production project on the Russian Arctic shelf. Chinese-Russian humanitarian cooperation has been developing dynamically. The Year of Chinese Tourism in Russia concluded with success, and on March 28 a new important project was launched in St. Petersburg, the Year of Friendly Youth Exchanges that are to be held in the two countries simultaneously in 2014-15. The strengthening military ties, including regular joint exercises, are yet another remarkable indication of the special nature of our bilateral relations. The Russian and Chinese navies closely cooperate in guarding the convoys transporting chemical weapons from Syria. Close cooperation in the international arena is the most important aspect of the Chinese-Russian strategic partnership. Our countries advocate a more just and democratic polycentric world order based on fundamental principles of international law and the central coordinating role of the UN. It is pivotal that in todayâ€™s complex and unpredictable global context we understand and respect each otherâ€™s interests and concerns. Russia and China attach great importance to cooperation within multilateral formats, including the UN, G20, BRICS, the SCO and the Russia-India-China trilateral format (RIC), prioritizing enhanced efficiency of responses to global challenges and threats and promotion of sustainable development. During my visit to China, my colleague Wang Yi and I intend to engage in an in-depth exchange of views on a broad range of current global and regional issues, including the situation in Syria, the Iranian nuclear program, the situation on the Korean Peninsula, as well as that in Afghanistan in light of the presidential elections that took place in the country on April 5. Our two countries have coinciding or similar approaches to the majority of international problems and are ready to further harmonize their positions. We intend to devote particular attention to cooperation within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. We aim to synchronize the efforts to ensure further development of the SCO, one of the key elements of economic growth and strengthened security in Central Asia. Discussion of the complex situation in Ukraine has also been put on the agenda. We appreciate Beijingâ€™s measured and impartial stance on the Ukrainian crisis, as well as Chinaâ€™s manifest understanding of all its manifold aspects, including the historic ones. Question 2 President Vladimir Putin plans to visit China in May. What can you say about this visit? What do you expect from the meeting of President Putin and President Xi? Regular contacts both at the highest and high levels give strong impetus to the further development of bilateral relations. In 2013, President Xi made a State visit to Russia and the leaders of the two countries met on the margins of the G20 summit in St. Petersburg and the APEC summit in Bali. This February, the PRCâ€™s president came to Sochi to take part in the Winter Olympics opening ceremony where he met Vladimir Putin. We believe that the upcoming visit of the Russian president will become this yearâ€™s major political event in Russian-Chinese relations, and its outcome will be an important step toward a closer Russian-Chinese partnership. I think it is still premature to go into any details. I can only say that together with our Chinese colleagues we will spare no effort in preparing for the meeting of our leaders. These are the issues that will be brought into focus during talks with Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Question 3 President Xi came forward with the initiative of a Silk Road Economic Belt covering the territory from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific Ocean. Some countries actively responded to the proposal concerning the Silk Road Economic Belt. What does Russia think about this project? Russia pays great attention to all the initiatives of its strategic ally and good friend. As far as we understand, the main task of the Silk Road Economic Belt is to promote the collective development of a huge territory, including a number of regions â€” from the northwestern provinces of China, Central Asia to the Caucasus and Central and Eastern Europe. The project should promote comprehensive economic growth, creation of infrastructure, logical clusters, consolidation of trade and investment ties, and expansion of humanitarian cooperation. So, the tasks are rather ambitious. It is evident that their implementation will require common efforts of all the states concerned on the basis of mutual interests. In this regard, we note the willingness of the Chinese partners to respect Russian interests, as well as Beijingâ€™s readiness to interact with Russia in order to develop a substantive agenda for the project. This issue was discussed in detail during the meeting of President Putin and President Xi in February in Sochi. They agreed to boost cooperation, including in the framework of economic and transport agencies, in order to implement joint projects, inter alia, by possible aligning of the â€œSilk Road Economic Beltâ€ with the processes of the Eurasian integration and the projects of modernization of the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Baikal-Amur Mainline. A Russian-Chinese expert dialogue on this issue is going to be launched as a follow up to the agreements reached by our leaders. Question 4 Two terrorist acts were committed in Volgograd in December. China suffered a terrorist attack in March. Will Russia and China continue their cooperation against terrorism? Are there any plans to undertake some special actions, such as counter-terrorism exercises, within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization? The atrocious terrorist attacks, which caused the loss of human lives in our countries, cannot be justified on any grounds whatsoever. We are working together with our Chinese partners towards the overall enhancement of international cooperation against terrorism with the central coordinating role of the United Nations. Of course, we will promote bilateral collaboration in this area. Today, the Russian-Chinese security dialogue represents a multi-level mechanism. The Counter Terrorism Working Group co-chaired by the heads of the relevant departments of the foreign ministries of the two countries is a key element of this dialogue. Its agenda includes issues of combating terrorism, illicit production of, and trafficking in, narcotic drugs, transnational organized crime and money laundering and ensuring international information security. The group meets at least once a year with the involvement of many specialized ministries and agencies. Its next meeting will be held in the second part of this year in China. We attach great importance to the joint work in this area at the multilateral fora, for example, within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Cooperation within the framework of the SCO has many dimensions. However, regional security is an absolute priority of the SCO member states. Today, the SCO proves to be the best forum for interaction on the Afghan track. We combine our efforts with our Chinese friends to transform the SCO regional counter-terrorism structure into a new multipurpose mechanism for comprehensive counteraction to the security threats and challenges facing the SCO member states. Such threats are expected to grow, particularly due to the forthcoming withdrawal of most of the international forces from Afghanistan. The SCO adopted the Programme of Cooperation Against Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism for 2013-2015 that provided, inter alia, for joint counterterrorism exercises by law enforcement and special agencies. A month ago, one such exercise entitled Vostok-Antiterror-2014 took place in Uzbekistan. Furthermore, exercises conducted by our defense ministries are aimed at improving coordination in response to the threat that terrorism poses to the sovereignty, peace and stability in the SCO member states. This year, the Peace Mission 2014 exercises will be conducted in China. Question 5 Russia and China are the victors in World War II and permanent members of the UN Security Council. Some countries have raised their voices for a review of WWII outcomes and negation of the post-war world order. What does the Russian government think about this? Friendship forged in the war and mutual help by the peoples of Russia and China in WWII, where we were allies, laid a firm basis for todayâ€™s Russian-Chinese relations of strategic partnership. Immediately after the invasion by militarist Japan of China, the Soviet Union rendered assistance to its neighbor. Pilots of both countries were fighting shoulder to shoulder. After the victory over fascist Germany, our country took an active part in defeating the Kwantung Army and in the liberation of Northeast China. The peoples of our countries suffered heavy losses in the war. Using this opportunity, I would like to express gratitude for the care for the remembrance of Soviet warriors, for memorials, monuments, and grave sites in China. Russia and China maintain the same approaches to the assessment of the WWII outcome. They can be found, in particular, in the Joint Statement of the President of the Russian Federation and the President of the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China on the 65th Anniversary of the End of World War II, issued in Beijing on September 27, 2010. The solidarity of our countries is of significant importance against the background of constant attempts to falsify the history, negate the deeds of soldiers-liberators, and whitewash German fascism and Japanese militarism. We believe that recognition in full extent of WWII outcomes, which are fixed in the UN Charter and other international documents, is imperative for all the states. First of all, it is the inviolability of all the decisions taken by victorious powers, which is enshrined in Article 107 of the UN Charter. No action or statement must dispute this fundamental principle, which underlies the present-day world order. Only such an approach can enable the reinforcement of global and regional security and stability, and the development of mutually profitable cooperation for the benefit of all countries and peoples. Taking into account the significance of the 70th anniversary of the Victory, we have reached an agreement with the Chinese to hold a number of joint events, bilateral and in the SCO framework as well, which are aimed to emphasize the contributions made by Russia and China to the Victory and counteract the attempts to distort the historical truth.