The Voronin government continues to look eastward in its foreign policy despite sustained popular protests at his moves toward Russia. A majority of the population is ethnically and linguistically aligned with Romania, a country that has moved increasingly toward integration with Western Europe. Nevertheless, Voronin has deepened ties with Russia and described the relationship between the two countries as "a long-term strategic partnership." In April 2002 the Russian Duma (parliament) approved a treaty establishing it as a guarantor of peace in Moldova. Previous governments had sought the removal of Russian peacekeepers in the breakaway region of Dniestr, but Voronin welcomes their presence. In a further sign of Moldova's hostility to its western neighbors, it expelled the Romanian military attaché in March 2002, prompting authorities in the Romanian capital, Bucharest, to expel a Moldovan diplomat.
In July 2001, Voronin welcomed a visit from Chinese president Jiang Zemin; the leaders signed a two-year pledge of cultural cooperation and Jiang pledged US $1 million in aid. In December 2002, Voronin met with U.S. president George W. Bush and issued a joint statement with him affirming the relationship between the two countries, and acknowledging the work Moldova needed to bring about reform and privatization.