Xi, Medvedev stress commitment to ties

By Deng Xiaoci and Yang Sheng Source:Global Times Published: 2017/11/1 23:13:39

Nearly 20 documents cover energy, finance


Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev shake hands during their meeting in Beijing on Wednesday. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday stressed China's firm commitment to developing relations with Russia during a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Xi said China is ready to work with Russia to expand cooperation in various fields, maintain close coordination in international affairs and promote the building of a community of shared future, the Xinhua News Agency reported Wednesday.

The president said he believes the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination between China and Russia would generate new opportunities and achieve new results.

The Russian prime minister is on a three-day official China visit from Tuesday to Thursday.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also met with his Russian counterpart and the two held the 22nd China-Russia Prime Ministers' Regular Meeting on Wednesday.

Premier Li and Medvedev signed a joint communiqué at the meeting, and witnessed the signing of nearly 20 bilateral documents, covering sectors including energy, regional cooperation and finance, said foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying at a press conference on Wednesday.

The communiqué hails the joint achievements made under Sino-Russian cooperation, Chinese experts said, which could illustrate that the relationship has reached the "best time in history" and still holds immense potential to grow.

In a typical example of these friendly relations, the two sides will discuss the joint development and protection project of Heixiazi Island in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.

The island, which sits on the Sino-Russian border, is known as Bolshoi Ussuriysky Island in Russia, and the communiqué states that the two sides will establish a cooperative working mechanism on the project.

The joint project sets a remarkable example to the world in that it transforms a previously disputed island into a friendship bond between the two sides through diplomacy, which will substantially benefit the people of both countries, Gao Fei, a professor of Russian studies at the China Foreign Affairs University told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The communiqué also states that the two sides should enhance cooperation on high-speed rail, including the technology, equipment and investments so a date can be set to initiate the Moscow-Kazan high-speed rail project.

The 770-kilometer railway will cost about 1.3 trillion rubles ($22.4 billion). Trains will run at a maximum speed of 400 kilometers per hour, cutting travel time from the current 14 hours to 3.5 hours, said Xinhua on August 17.

The Moscow-Kazan railway is expected to be part of a high-speed rail line connecting Beijing with Moscow in the future which will facilitate economic integration along the route.

China and Russia will also support the development of new trade methods, including cross-border e-commerce, according to the communiqué.

Gao pointed to the Chinese Alipay online payment platform which is widely used in Russia. He stressed that "together with payment technologies, the image of Chinese people in Russia has also significantly improved in recent years."

$200b in trade by 2020

"The economies of China and Russia are highly complementary, especially after sanctions from the West [on Russia]. Russia needs China's market and investment since the West's door is still closed to Russia," Feng Yujun, director of the Institute of Russian Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times.

China's investment can greatly help Russia with domestic development, while Russia's rich natural resources can meet China's needs, and the task for both sides is to boost trade to $200 billion by 2020, Feng said.

"Under the agreements and instruction from both countries' leaders, the Belt and Road initiative and Russia's Eurasian Economic Union are connected, so the growth of trade between the two countries is certain," Li Xing, director of the Eurasian Studies Center at the Beijing Normal University, told the Global Times Wednesday.

In the past, Russia's domestic political and social environment was not very suitable for foreign investment, even though the government is improving it gradually. China currently lacks enough trained personnel who can speak Russian fluently and have knowledge of Russian politics and laws, Li said.

"These caused Sino-Russia economic and trade cooperation in the Far East to grow slowly, but the problems can all be solved in the future," he noted.



Posted in: DIPLOMACY,NEW FOCUS

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