Russia, China strengthen strategic partnership

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s June 3-5 visit to China, the first in his third presidential tenure, is considered the most important event in the Sino-Russian relations this year.

Putin held talks with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People’s Congress Wu Banggou, and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to discuss a series of urgent international issues.

These include the prospect of Russia and China working together at the UN, the G-20 meeting of developed and emerging economies, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum, the situations in the Korean Peninsula and the Middle East, as well as Iran’s nuclear program.

Prior to the visit, Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping expressed his hope that both leaders will align in cooperative fields, especially those of strategic significance.

According to analysts, economic cooperation, particularly in energy, is also one of the main major purposes for Putin’s visit, as Russia is looking for new markets while China wants to access resources at low prices.

It seems both countries carefully prepared for a cooperative agreement during this visit. On June 1, Russian and Chinese Deputy Prime Ministers held talks on building a gas pipeline while previously leaders of Gazprom negotiated with China to resolve the difference in gas prices.

Russian media reports that both countries are preparing for an aviation project to develop a new kind of long-distance commercial airlines. The two countries also plan to boost investment and cooperation in science-technology and innovations.

They are determined to strengthen their strategic partnership and comprehensive relations which will be announced in a joint communiqué and some 17 cooperation agreements signed during the visit. These moves aim to increase the current two-way trade turnover of US$80 billion a year to US$100 billion by 2015 and US$200 billion by 2020.

Putin’s visit to China after re-election reflects the importance Russia attaches to relations with China and prioritizes it in Russia’s external policy. Putin said in February that China’s development is a great opportunity for Russia.

Through the visit, Russia re-affirms its wish to maintain the existing ties with China, and both countries discuss many issues to boost bilateral relations. In addition, Russia needs China’s alliance in international matters. According to Georgy Kunadze, an expert on China, the visit attests to Russia’s focus on external relations.

VOV5/VOV online