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Putin & Xi’s Moscow agreements

Riley Waggaman

They signed some things. But what things?

It was a big week for Russia-China experts, who collectively managed to write 10,000 hot takes about what happened in Moscow without explaining what actually happened in Moscow.

Is there a reason why all Russia-China commentary disintegrates into esoteric abstractions by the second paragraph? Can someone just tell us what Putin and Xi agreed to do together? Like, what did they physically sign, and what was printed on these sheets of paper that they signed?

Is that asking too much? Yes; of course.

As a public service we’ve compiled The Agreements. No editorializing. Just the hard facts here at E. Slavsquat.

(The Kremlin helpfully published a list of fourteen agreements inked during Xi’s visit. Unhelpfully, the Kremlin did not include the relevant texts/statements that correspond to each agreement. So we did a bit of digging—with mixed results.)

Here you go:

1. Joint statement of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China on the deepening of relations of comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction entering a new era.

Read the full statement here.

Some highlights:

  • “The parties note that relations between Russia and China, while not being a military-political alliance similar to the alliances established during the Cold War, are superior to this form of interstate interaction, are not confrontational in nature and are not directed against third countries. Russian-Chinese relations are mature, stable, self-sufficient and strong, have withstood the test of the COVID-19 pandemic and the turbulent international situation…”
  • “The viability of the multipolar model and ensuring the sustainable development of states depend on its universal openness and taking into account the interests of all countries without exception on an inclusive and non-discriminatory basis.”
  • “The parties intend to … promote a multipolar world order, economic globalization and democratization of international relations, promote the development of global governance in a more equitable and rational manner.”
  • “The Chinese side supports the fulfillment by the Russian side of the national development goals until 2030. The Russian side supports the implementation by the Chinese side of the tasks of modernization according to the Chinese model.”
  • “The parties agreed to discuss holding annual meetings of the ministers of internal affairs and public security, to increase cooperation in the law enforcement sphere in order to counter the ‘color revolutions’, fight the ‘three forces of evil’, including the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, cross-border organized crime, and economic and drug-related crime.”
  • “The parties will continue to strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation in the financial sector, including to ensure the continuity of settlements between the economic entities of the two countries, support the expansion of the use of national currencies in bilateral trade, investment, lending and other trade and economic transactions.”
  • “The parties will deepen cooperation in the field of healthcare, expand ties in the field of scientific research and higher medical education … [and] strengthen the relevant work within the framework of such multilateral platforms as WHO, BRICS, SCO, G20, APEC.”
  • “The Parties will continue to develop cooperation in the field of ensuring the sanitary and epidemiological well-being of the population in order to counter the threats of epidemics, and will jointly oppose attempts at the platforms of international organizations to adopt legally binding mechanisms that limit the sovereignty of countries in the field of prevention and control of infectious diseases, prevention and response to biological threats.”
  • “The Parties reaffirm their readiness to resolutely defend the international system in which the UN plays a central role, the world order based on international law and the fundamental norms of international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter; oppose all forms of hegemony, unilateral approaches and power politics, cold war thinking, bloc confrontation and the creation of narrow formats directed against certain countries.”
  • “The Parties support building an open world economy, uphold the multilateral trading system, in which the World Trade Organization plays a central role…”
  • “The Russian Side positively assesses the Global Development Initiative and will continue to participate in the work of the Group of Friends in support of it. The Parties will continue to encourage the international community to focus on development issues and increase their contribution to it, will jointly contribute to the success of the UN Summit on Sustainable Development Goals, ensuring the early implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
  • “The parties have established effective cooperation in bilateral and multilateral formats on combating the pandemic of a new coronavirus infection COVID-19, protecting the life and health of the population of the two countries and peoples of the world. The Parties support the deepening of information exchange on the subject of the COVID-19 pandemic and the strengthening of coordination when interacting at such platforms as WHO. The parties jointly oppose the designs and attempts to politicize the issue of the origin of the virus.”
  • “The parties note that in order to resolve the Ukrainian crisis, it is necessary to respect the legitimate concerns of all countries in the field of security and prevent the formation of bloc confrontation, stop actions that further fuel the conflict.”
  • “The parties call for an end to all steps that contribute to the escalation of tension and prolongation of hostilities, to avoid further degradation of the crisis up to its transition into an uncontrollable phase. The parties oppose all unilateral sanctions imposed in circumvention of the UN Security Council.”
  • “The parties insist that NATO strictly comply with the obligations relating to the regional and defensive character of the said Organization. They call on NATO to respect the sovereignty of other states, their security and interests, civilizational and historical and cultural diversity, to treat the peaceful development of other states objectively and without prejudice.”
  • “Russia and China oppose attempts by individual countries to turn outer space into an arena of armed confrontation and will oppose activity aimed at achieving military superiority and using it for military operations. The Parties reaffirm the need to launch negotiations as soon as possible on the creation, on the basis of the Russian-Chinese draft treaty on the prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space.”

2. Joint statement by the President of the Russian Federation and the Chairman of the People’s Republic of China on the plan for the development of key areas of Russian-Chinese economic cooperation until 2030.

Read the full statement here.

The statement includes an eight-point plan to improve economic cooperation between Moscow and Beijing:

  • “Scale up and optimize the structure of trade, including through the development of electronic commerce and other innovative tools.”
  • “Comprehensive development of an interconnected logistics system. Ensuring the rapid movement of goods and passengers in two-way communication by all modes of transport: rail, road, air, river and sea.”
  • “Increasing the level of financial cooperation, including by expanding, in accordance with market needs, the practice of using national currencies and progressively increasing their share in bilateral trade, investment, lending and other areas of trade and economic cooperation.”
  • “Strengthening the comprehensive partnership in the energy sector.”
  • “Ensuring coordination in order to develop long-term cooperation relations in the field of mutually beneficial supply based on market principles in basic goods and mineral resources, including metals, chemical fertilizers and chemical products.”
  • “Promotion of exchanges and qualitative expansion of cooperation in the fields of technology and innovation in order to ensure the technological leadership of Russia and China.”
  • “Achieving a higher quality level of industrial cooperation.”
  • “A significant increase in the level of cooperation in agriculture in order to ensure the food security of the two countries.”

3. Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on cooperation in the field of joint production of television programs.

We couldn’t find a separate statement for this agreement, but here’s an excerpt from the aforementioned “joint statement on deepening relations”:

  • “The Parties intend to develop cooperation and mutual exchange of information on the policy in the field of radio, television and audiovisual content on the Internet, to intensify interaction in such areas as the joint production and mutual broadcast of television programs, the use of technical developments in order to promote the joint development of the industry.”

4. Protocol to the Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the establishment and organizational foundations of the mechanism for regular meetings of the heads of government of Russia and China dated June 27, 1997.

This appears to be an addendum to an agreement that has been in place for many years. We couldn’t find the updated agreement, but a similar accord on “regular meetings” between Russian and Chinese officials, focusing on infrastructure development, was signed in 2021.

5. Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China on deepening cooperation in the field of exhibition and fair activities.

We couldn’t find any details about this, but a very similar agreement was inked in December 2012:

  • “The Parties will assist in attracting interested enterprises and relevant industry associations of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China to participate in exhibition and fair events on the territory of the two countries.”
  • “The Parties intend to exchange information on international, national and professional exhibition and fair events scheduled to be held on the territory of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China.”

6. Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China on deepening investment cooperation in the development and use of forest resources.

Again, the Kremlin hasn’t published any details about this. But here’s a deal they inked in 2012:

7. Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China on deepening investment cooperation between the subjects of the Russian Federation and the provinces of the People’s Republic of China in the soybean industry.

We couldn’t find any details about this, but seems fairly self-explanatory.

8. Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of the Russian Federation for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic and the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China on industrial and infrastructural cooperation in the preferential regimes of the Far East of the Russian Federation.

9. Protocol between the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China, the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research and the Chinese Academy of Sciences on strengthening cooperation in the field of fundamental scientific research.

Agreements 8-9 seem to be covered in the economic cooperation accord. We weren’t able to find the specifics—if anyone has them, we’ll update this article accordingly.

10. Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation in the field of consumer protection between the Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare (Russian Federation) and the Main State Administration for Control and Regulation of the Market of the People’s Republic of China.

Rospotrebnadzor (Russia’s COVID Nanny) will work more closely with its Chinese counterpart. Via TASS:

  • “The document is aimed at strengthening Russian-Chinese interagency cooperation, building working contacts and mechanisms for intercountry cooperation in the area of ​​consumer rights protection…”

11. Memorandum of Understanding between the Federal Agency for State Property Management (Russian Federation) and the Committee for Control and Management of State Property of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China on Strengthening Cooperation in the Management of State Enterprises.

The memorandum aims to deepen “cooperation in the exchange of information and experience in the field of managing Russian and Chinese state property.”

12. A comprehensive program of long-term cooperation in the field of fast neutron reactors and closing the nuclear fuel cycle between the State Atomic Energy Corporation “Rosatom” and the Atomic Energy Agency of the People’s Republic of China.

From the joint statement on deepening relations:

  • “The parties intend to pursue even closer partnership in the energy sector, support Russian and Chinese enterprises in the implementation of energy cooperation projects in the oil and gas, coal, electric power, nuclear and other fields, as well as initiatives that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including those related to the use of low-emission and renewable energy sources. The Parties will jointly protect international energy security (including critical cross-border infrastructure), the stability of energy production and supply chains, promote fair energy transitions and low-carbon development, taking into account the principle of technological neutrality, and jointly contribute to the long-term, healthy and stable development of the global energy market.”

13. Memorandum of Cooperation between the Federal State Unitary Enterprise “All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company” and the China Media Corporation.

In layman’s terms: Russian and Chinese state media will increase cooperation and coordination on the info-front.

14. Agreement on the exchange of information and cooperation between the Federal State Unitary Enterprise “Information Telegraph Agency of Russia (ITAR-TASS)” (Russian Federation) and the Information Agency “Xinhua” (People’s Republic of China).

The same as above.

Ukraine Agreements?

You are probably already aware of the 12-point peace plan proposed by Beijing. Putin said the plan “correlates to the point of view of the Russian Federation”, but Kiev (Washington) has shown little interest in returning to the negotiating table.

Rumors that China was preparing to back Russia militarily turned out to be greatly exaggerated. There were no promises of ammunition deliveries or any other kind of military aid.

(Western media reports claim Chinese companies have been selling assault rifles, body armor, and drones to Russia. But this has allegedly been going since the start of the conflict. Xi’s visit doesn’t seem to have changed the dynamic here.)

Maybe we will comment on the above Agreements later.

Riley Waggaman is your humble Moscow correspondent. He worked for RT, Press TV, Russia Insider, yadda yadda. In his youth, he attended a White House lawn party where he asked Barack Obama if imprisoned whistleblower Bradley Manning (Chelsea was still a boy back then) “had a good Easter.” Good times good times. You can subscribe to his Substack here, or follow him on twitter or Telegram.


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