Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and China's President Xi Jinping shake hands prior to their talks in Brasilia, Brazil, Wed., Nov. 13, 2019.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and China's President Xi Jinping shake hands prior to their talks in Brasilia, Brazil, Wed., Nov. 13, 2019. Ramil Sitdikov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

Honor World War II with a Better, Shared Future

We believe that the best way to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the peace is to join hands.

On September 3, Russia commemorates the end of World War II, and the Chinese people celebrate the great victory in what is known as the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression. On that day in 1945, the sun of peace once again shone on the earth. On this year’s 75th anniversary of the Allies’ victory in World War II, we are remembering the historic contribution of the earlier generations of our two countries, and we want to congratulate the United States, our ally at the time, and thank its “Greatest Generation” for their sacrifice.

World War II was an unprecedented calamity in human history. The Soviet Union, China, the United States and other countries supported each other and fought side-by-side. In the end, justice prevailed over evil, light over darkness, and the progressive over the reactionary. In the main theaters in Europe and Asia, the Soviet Union suffered more than 27 million deaths and China suffered over 35 million casualties, making indelible contributions to the victory of the War and the future of mankind.

The friendship developed between the Russian and Chinese people in World War II has been an inexhaustible driving force for Russia-China relations. It has become a tradition for the two countries to jointly commemorate the war, with leaders often attending the celebrations held by the other country. This past May 8, President Vladimir Putin and President Xi Jinping agreed that as major winning countries in World War II and permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, Russia and China have the special mission of safeguarding world peace and security and promoting human progress, and they vowed to preserve the victory of the war and uphold international fairness and justice. The leaders also called on the international community to carry forward the spirit fostered in the war against fascism and join hands to defeat the global pandemic of COVID-19.

Now, we commemorate another anniversary of what China also calls the World Anti-Fascist War. History is a mirror to the future. In honoring history, we aim to create a better future.

But history should not be distorted and lessons from history must be learned. The law of the jungle leaves the weak at the mercy of the strong, yet it is not the way for countries to conduct their relations. Those who adopt the high-handed approach of using force will find that they are only lifting a rock to drop on their own feet. We should give up the thinking of a zero-sum game, strive for win-win cooperation, and realize the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind. This is the only choice if we are to turn into reality the ideal “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind,” as enshrined in the UN Charter.

The international order and system born from World War II, with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter as the core, must be maintained. Seventy-five years ago, our fathers laid the cornerstone of the modern international order with the wisdom of all parties, establishing the United Nations and formulating the charter. We still have the obligation to maintain and develop this order and system that has made great contributions to world peace, security, and stability through the basic norms of international relations. Multilateralism should be kept in practice.

The spirit of World War II characterized by concerted efforts, unity, and mutual assistance should be carried forward. In the face of global threats and challenges such as climate change, terrorism, economic recession, and pandemics, the winning nations of World War II — especially the permanent members of the UN Security Council — based on their shared memory of fighting side-by-side, should ponder on their special responsibilities, strengthen mutual trust and cooperation, and follow the principles of mutual respect, equality, peaceful development, and common prosperity. This is urgently relevant in the context of the raging COVID-19.

Russia and China have made the right choices. We will stay committed to our comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination, push forward cooperation as good neighbors and friends, promote global stability and security, and contribute to the prosperity and wellbeing of all countries. We believe that the best way to commemorate the war is to avoid a repeat of the tragedy and join hands to open up a better future.

Anatoly Antonov is the Russian ambassador to the United States.

Cui Tiankai is the Chinese ambassador to the United States.