President Xi Jinping will pay a state visit to Russia from Monday to Wednesday, a trip expected to further deepen mutual trust, boost bilateral cooperation and contribute to building a multipolar world.
"At a time when the world is entering a period of uncertainty and transformation, the significance and influence of the China-Russia relationship goes far beyond the bilateral scope," Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Friday.
It will be Xi"s first overseas trip since he was elected Chinese president last week and also his first visit to Russia since the Ukraine crisis broke out in February last year.
According to the spokesman, during the visit, Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin will have an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations and major international and regional affairs.
Li Yonghui, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences" Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies, said the China-Russia relationship is an exceptional and important one among state-to-state relations.
"Under the guidance of the two heads of state, bilateral ties between the two countries have withstood tests and are steadily moving forward," Li said.
She added that in recent years China-Russia relations have witnessed growing political mutual trust and fruitful results of cooperation in various fields, including trade and the economy, finance, agriculture, science and technology, as well as cultural exchanges.
Bilateral trade between China and Russia hit a record high of $190 billion last year, according to the General Administration of Customs.
Wang, the ministry spokesman, said the Chinese president"s visit will be "a trip for peace" as the two countries practice true multilateralism and promote greater democracy in international relations on the basis of non-alliance, non-confrontation and non-targeting of third parties.
He refuted some Western politicians" smearing of Sino-Russian relations, saying that the two countries" strategic partnership for coordination will benefit the two peoples and the world at large.
"It is entirely different from what certain countries have been doing, including holding on to a Cold War mentality, ganging up with other countries, forming small cliques and stirring up bloc confrontations, and engaging in hegemonic, domineering and bullying practices," Wang said.
On the Ukraine issue, the spokesman said China will uphold an objective and fair position and play a constructive role in promoting peace talks.
"We always believe that political dialogue is the only way to resolve conflicts and disputes. Acts such as fanning the flames, imposing unilateral sanctions and maximum pressure will only intensify tensions and make things worse," he said.
When asked about media reports that China will provide military support and dual-use equipment to Russia, Wang said China-Russia cooperation is completely above board and serves the purpose of delivering benefits to both peoples and promoting global growth.
"It shall be free from distraction or coercion from any third party," he said. He added that China always handles exports of military items in a prudent and responsible manner and regulates exports of dual-use items in accordance with relevant laws and regulations.
"Our consistent position and practice stand in sharp contrast with the acts of certain countries that apply double standards on arms sales and keep adding fuel to the fire of the Ukraine crisis," Wang said.
Stepan Gusamov, CEO of Ozon Global, a major Russian online retailer, said that Xi"s visit is a symbol of increasing cooperation between the two countries, leading to good trade prospects. He said that since China optimized its COVID-19 response measures, "I think we will foresee a significant upgrade of partnership by both sides."
According to Gusamov, Russian consumers have a huge demand for Chinese-made goods, and this opens a golden window of opportunity for Chinese foreign trade companies and brands to enter the Russian market. He added that "now it"s the best time for Chinese brands and manufacturers to enter the Russian market".