A year ago, on the eve of the Eastern Economic Forum in the Russian city of Vladivostok, China was the center of attention for Russian experts and journalists. Everyone was wondering how Chinese businesses would react in the face of unprecedented sanctions on Russia and an international political crisis.
There were doubts about whether China would continue cooperating with Russia in light of the sanctions, and whether Russian companies could continue making progress in China after the doors to Europe closed.
All eyes are again on the Chinese business delegation at the Eastern Economic Forum, which will take place in Vladivostok on September 10-13, as the forum has always been regarded as one of the indicators of the economic and political relations between Russia and China.
China’s ambassador to Russia, Zhang Hanhui, told the state-run news agency Tass that this year’s high-ranking Chinese delegation will be led by one of the country’s vice-premiers. He noted that China regards the forum as an important platform for developing cooperation with its northern neighbor.
That cooperation got a boost last year as companies exited Russia en masse in the wake of Western sanctions resulting from Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Instead of following suit, Chinese companies stayed, and captured a significant share of the Russian market. Since the beginning of 2023, trade between the two countries has increased by 13.3%, reaching US$155.1 billion, according to China’s customs administration.