Author: Igor Rogachev
On July 16, 2001, in the Moscow Kremlin, Russian President Vladimir Putin and PRC Chairman Jiang Zemin signed a historic document - a Treaty on Good- Neighborliness, Friendship, and Cooperation between the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China.
The signing of the new Treaty marked the beginning of a qualitatively new era in relations between the two countries. It confirmed the long-term and stable nature of relations on the basis of neighborliness, friendship, mutual trust and common benefit, without the establishment of a military-political alliance.
As is well-known, the previous basic document - the Soviet-Chinese Treaty on Friendship, Alliance, and Mutual Assistance, dated February 14, 1950 - expired more than 20 years ago.
The idea of drawing up a new treaty did not arise spontaneously: it was dictated by the logic of life itself and the development of Russian-Chinese relations. The comprehensive increase in and the deepening of cooperation in all directions during the 1990s led to the recognition in both Moscow and Beijing of the need to build their strategic partnership on a fundamentally long-term and legal basis.
Concrete agreement on the development of a new basic treaty was achieved during President Putin's visit to China on July 17-19, 2000. Virtually upon the conclusion of the summit, experts from both nations began the painstaking work of preparing a draft copy of the treaty. Each side had its own preliminary vision of what it should contain, based on their own domestic and international experience.
As a result of the extraordinarily active drafting process at both the legal specialist and deputy minister levels, a unity of views was reached on all the key provisions of the future treaty, and its text was agreed upon in full. The record time in which a document of this range was drawn up testifies once more to the high degree of mutual trust, understanding, and constructive mood of both parties.
Igor Rogachev is Russia's Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the People's Republic of China.
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