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23 Mar, 2013

China, Russia move toward full-fledged strategic partnership


MOSCOW, March 22 (Xinhua) — Visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, held talks here Friday and vowed to enhance their countries’ comprehensive strategic cooperation.

During their meeting in the Kremlin, Putin extended his warm welcome to Xi, and said the fact that Xi selected Russia as the first foreign country to visit after assuming presidency testifies to the great importance both sides attach to the development of their relations as well as the special and strategic nature of the relationship.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in Moscow, capital of Russia, March 22, 2013. (Xinhua/Huang Jingwen)

Describing the visit as one of historic significance, Putin said he is confident that the trip will bear rich fruit and give a strong boost to the development of the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between Russia and China.Xi stressed that China and Russia are each other’s major and most important strategic cooperative partners, and both accord priority to deepening their comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership in their overall diplomatic agenda and foreign policy.

In face of the profoundly complex international situation and the still grave global economic environment, the two sides should work together more closely to enhance their comprehensive strategic cooperation, said the Chinese president.

China and Russia, he proposed, should deepen mutual political support, steadfastly backing each other’s efforts to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, each other’s independent choice of development paths and each other’s cause of national rejuvenation.

The two sides should also expand practical cooperation, translate the advantage of their high-level political ties into tangible results and thus achieve common development, Xi added.

Meanwhile, he continued, Beijing and Moscow should strengthen coordination and cooperation on global and regional issues so as to safeguard the two countries’ common strategic security.

The collaboration on the world stage should also aim at promoting world peace, stability and prosperity by defending the principles of the UN Charter and the basic norms of international relations, the post-World War II international order as well as international justice and fairness, he said.

Expressing his full agreement with Xi’s comments on bilateral relations, Putin said the two countries hold similar stances on many major issues and enjoy extensive common interests and bright cooperation prospects.

Facts have proved that the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between Russia and China not only serves the interests of both peoples, but has become an important positive component of today’s international relations, he added.

Russia, said Putin, is willing to reinforce its strategic cooperation with China.

As regards their countries’ practical cooperation, the two leaders had in-depth discussions and agreed that the time and conditions are ripe for the two sides to carry out large-scale economic cooperation.

The two sides vowed to make full use of their various cooperation mechanisms, and invigorate collaboration on large joint projects of strategic significance, such as the development of heavy helicopters and long-haul wide-body passenger airplanes.

The two leaders also pledged to further improve the structure of bilateral trade and strive to achieve in advance the goal of bringing bilateral trade to 100 billion U.S. dollars by 2015.

Besides, Xi and Putin agreed to boost their countries’ cooperation in such areas as energy, transportation, environmental protection, youth, education and medicine.

In addition, the two sides promised to cooperate more closely on major global and regional issues under such frameworks as the UN, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS and safeguard world peace and development.

The two countries also ratified the 2013-2016 implementation guidelines of the China-Russia Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation.

After the talks, the two leaders signed a joint statement on deepening the bilateral comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, and witnessed the signing of a series of cooperation documents.

Prior to the meeting, Putin hosted a welcoming ceremony in honor of Xi in the Kremlin.

The strategic significance of Xi’s first trip after becoming Chinese leader

by Xinhua writers Zhu Lei, Yang Qingchuan

BEIJING, March 21 (Xinhua) — Vladimir Putin included China in his first foreign trip after assuming the Russian presidency last year. Xi Jinping, after his election as Chinese president last week, also chose Moscow to be the first foreign capital to visit as China’s head of state.

The reciprocation reflects the fact that both countries see each other as the principal priority of their foreign relations, which was reaffirmed in a phone call made by Putin to congratulate Xi on his election.

The Russian leader told his new Chinese counterpart that the bilateral relationship is of great significance as it is a major contributor to world peace and stability.

Looking forward to the summit with Putin, Xi said he believed his upcoming visit would inject new vigor into the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination.


The first foreign trip of China’s new leader is widely deemed as an important diplomatic vane for the second largest economy in the coming decade.

“The first visit is a symbol, of course, but it is a very important symbol,” Yakov Berger, a professor at Russia’s Far East Institute, told Xinhua.

Like his predecessor Hu Jintao, who also picked Moscow as the destination of his first foreign trip after assuming office, Xi’s choice is a continuation of China’s diplomacy which prioritizes ties with Moscow, Berger said.

China and Russia are connected by many common interests, he said, adding that as giant neighbors who share long borders, they are interested in good-neighborhood relations.

“They are also interested in creating an environment of trust, accord and security in the region we share … Third, both countries play important roles in global affairs, and their coordinated positions and cooperation could facilitate creation of a more just and favorable global order,” he said.

In light of the high-level political mutual trust between China and Russia, it is only natural for the two countries’ new leaders to act that way, analysts say. That demonstrates continuation and stability of China-Russia relations, they say.


A Chinese proverb goes that “a relative afar is less helpful than a close neighbor.”

As each other’s biggest neighbor, China and Russia regard each other as an important development opportunity and a preferred partner, then Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said when announcing the new Chinese president’s state visit to Russia earlier this month.

Relations between China and Russia feature overlaps in core national interests and non-existence of any serious contradictions, Berger said, noting that makes their relations special and unparalleled.

“Relations between our countries don’t pursue short-term egoistic benefits and tactical advantages. Our countries proceed from deep understanding of deeply rooted common interests. That gives their relations a long-term and stable character,” he said.

Building on past achievements, both governments said the bilateral relationship surged to a historic best in 2012, with intensive political communication, fruitful economic and trade cooperation and enriched cultural exchanges.

Regarding China as huge potential for bushiness cooperation, Putin has underlined the importance of diplomatic, economic and energy relations with China.

On the global arena, China and Russia act in close coordination, taking similar approaches to Middle East issues, and working shoulder to shoulder in Central Asia, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Group of 20 and the UN Security Council.

Both permanent members of the Security Council, China and Russia reaffirmed in last June their strong opposition to foreign military intervention and a forced regime change in Syria.

Boosted by political enthusiasm, economic and trade cooperation between the two countries has been on the fast track against the backdrop of the global economic slump.

China-Russia trade in 2012 jumped by 11.2 percent year on year to 88.2 billion U.S. dollars, compared with the 6.2 percent growth for China’s overall foreign trade, according to the General Administration of Customs.

Currently, Russia is the ninth largest trade partner of China, while China top Russia’s list.

Energized by rich cultural heritage and varied natural landscape of both countries, their people-to-people and cultural exchanges are also active, which helps consolidate the social basis of bilateral relations.

The number of Chinese tourists visiting Russia reached 343,000 last year, up 47 percent from 2011, according to official statistics.


The relationship between China and Russia is not a bloc, union or alliance, and it distinguishes itself from other big power relations, said Sergei Lousianin, deputy director of Russia’s Far East Institute.

Their relations in the political and strategic spheres could be called exemplary because Moscow and Beijing have solved all major territorial disputes and other disagreements, he said.

Though their economic relationship is generally satisfactory, it is seen as lagging behind the political one, given their relatively low level of investment and trade compared with those between China and the United States, Japan and other countries, he said.

Both Lousianin and Berger believed that energy is one of the most promising spheres in bilateral cooperation. The two countries have to cooperate more closely on science, electronics, biotechnology, space, agriculture and infrastructure, they said.

At a high-level meeting between the two countries in February, energy-rich Russia agreed to supply 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually to China. The two also reached consensus on cooperation regarding oil, nuclear and coal.

(Xinhua reporter Han Liang in Moscow contributed to the story)