For Chinese, this Spring Festival is an occasion of “double happiness,” with the hosting of the Beijing Winter Olympics. Adding to the festive mood is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s scheduled visit and attendance to the opening ceremony of the grand sporting event.
Ahead of Putin’s visit, China Media Group (CMG) President and Editor-in-Chief Shen Haixiong interviewed the Russian president, welcoming him to Beijing and asking him about sports and ties with China.
It’s not the first time for Putin to accept Shen’s interview. Four years ago, they sat down for an exclusive interview at the Kremlin in Moscow, marking the first interview the Russian president had ever given to the Chinese media at the Kremlin.
Putin’s expectation for Beijing 2022
“I firmly believe that the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing will be held to the highest standards. I wish a successful performance and luck to all athletes, participants in the Olympics, and bright unforgettable moments and joy to the guests,” Putin said in expressing warm wishes and high expectations for the upcoming sporting gala during the recent interview.
Putin told Shen that he believes those excellent preparations made by organizers for the Olympics will help the Olympic athletes show their sporting character and demonstrate their skills and ability to achieve their goals in a fair and uncompromising competition.
He also said that Russia has been and remains committed to the traditional Olympic values. “Russia opposes the attempts to politicize sport or use it as a tool of coercion, unfair competition, and discrimination.”
Nearly 3,000 athletes from approximately 90 countries and regions will compete at the Beijing 2022, which features more events and will produce more gold medals than any previous Winter Games.
Chinese-Russian sports exchanges
As for the interaction between Russia and China in sports and physical education, Putin said it occupies an important place in bilateral humanitarian cooperation.
Apart from cooperation in junior hockey, Putin cited Russian and Chinese cooperation in physical education and sports in 2022-2023, which was announced by two leaders in December 2021, saying it will be a significant and memorable event for the two countries.
According to Putin, the program includes about 500 various popular and youth sports events, as well as educational, sports science and staff training activities.
Developing bilateral ties on equal, non-ideological basis
Shen noted that China and Russia viewed each other as friendly nations from the start, then advanced to a constructive partnership, strategic partnership, comprehensive partnership, and strategic interaction. In June 2019, relations were upgraded to a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era. Last June, the two sides also agreed to extend their Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation for another five years.
Relations between Russia and China are developing on an equal, non-ideological basis, Putin stressed, adding that the “partnership is sustainable, intrinsically valuable, not affected by the political climate, and not aimed against anyone.”
China remains firmly top of the list of Russia’s trade partners, the president said, citing preliminary data that bilateral trade reached a historical high, totaling $140 billion last year amid the pandemic.
The meetings of the two leaders played a key role in enhancing bilateral cooperation, Putin said.
Nearly three years after Putin’s last visit to China, the upcoming trip will witness the 38th meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Russian president since 2013.