The Guardian 8 March, 2006
treaty of "friendly cooperation"
Following a recent meeting between the Foreign Ministers of China and Russia, Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov said that the two countries have developed a new pattern of bilateral relationships featuring a mature, trustworthy and reliable partnership.
The two countries have signed a treaty of friendly cooperation and have solved the border issue which bedevilled relations between them for years.
China has become a new pole in international relations, said Lavrov. Russia is not worried about the "peaceful rise" of China, he added. "As permanent members of the UN Security Council, Russia and China bear a special responsibility for international and regional peace and security. The expanding cooperation between the two countries is of great significance in safeguarding global stability.
"Russia values cooperation with China on international issues, in particular UN reform, arms control, preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, resolving ‘hot issues’ and ensuring security of adjacent regions for the two countries", he said.
He stressed the importance of cooperation with China in seeking political and diplomatic solutions to the Iranian and Korean nuclear issues.
There is "no need to replace the International Atomic Energy Agency with the UN Security Council in tackling the issue", he said.
Lavrov said that the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) has developed into a strong group that can safeguard its own interests and regional security and stability and is playing an increasingly influential role in international and regional arenas.
The SCO, established in 2001, groups Russia, China and four Central Asian states — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Sergei Lavrov said UN reform is a long-term process and should proceed in accordance with the principles of collective security and equality of national sovereignty that have been enshrined in the UN Charter.
China’s economy grows but problems remain
In another development China’s Bureau of Statistics announced that China’s economy grew by 9.9 percent in 2005 as against 9.5 percent in 2004.
In the industrial sector, state-owned companies saw their profit go up by 17.4 percent, compared to 47.3 percent for private enterprises. Overseas-invested companies recorded the lowest growth rate in profits, which stood at 6.9 percent.
China, already the world’s biggest producer of many industrial products, saw another year of double-digit growth in many of them.
China’s foreign trade continued its dynamic growth. Its trade volume soared by 23.2 percent with a trade surplus of 101.9 billion US dollars.
The living standards of the Chinese people continued to improve in 2005, as indicated by the two-digit growth in the sale of cars, electrical appliances, furniture, jewelry and other consumer products.
On the negative side is an increasing wealth gap and environmental pollution.
The average net income of China’s rural residents is only about one third that of urban workers.
China’s environment improved slightly in some aspects says the Bureau of Statistics, but the general situation remains gloomy.
Over one third of the 523 cities where pollution is monitored were shrouded in polluted air, while 41 percent of the water in China’s largest seven rivers is also polluted.