Xi to visit Russia for EEF

By Yang Sheng Source:Global Times Published: 2018/9/8 0:02:35

China-Russia cooperation to expand regional ties: expert

Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend the fourth Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) from September 11 to 12 in Vladivostok, Russia at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said at a press briefing in Beijing Friday.

Xi will attend bilateral and multilateral events at the forum, with the most important one being his meeting with Putin, the third meeting between the two leaders this year, Assistant Foreign Minister Zhang Hanhui said at the press briefing. 

This is the first time for a Chinese head of state to attend the annual economic forum in Russia, and although the visit is not a state visit, it remains significant, Zhang said. "The upcoming meeting will guide the development of China-Russia relations in the next stage, and the two leaders will discuss major global issues to improve the strategic coordination in the international arena."

"Russia is facing serious challenges from the West, not only because of its new offensive in Syria, but also from economic sanctions launched by the US. Simultaneously, China-Russia relations are at their best in history, and both countries have received pressure from the West, so Xi's visit will further extend this relationship," Feng Yujun, director of the Institute of Russian Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times on Friday.

The two leaders will witness the signing of documents on China-Russia cooperation, attend a press conference, and a series of activities featuring cultural exchanges, trade and regional cooperation, Zhang told reporters. "President Xi will also attend a banquet hosted by the Russian president."

Xi will deliver a keynote speech at the forum, and will engage in friendly exchanges with other national leaders, Zhang said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un might also attend the forum since Russia has already invited him. But Kim's attendance remains unconfirmed, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will also attend the forum, TASS reported.

The détente on the Korean Peninsula has brought optimism to Northeastern Asia, and all countries in the region want to see regional stability and peace, Da Zhigang, director of the Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of Northeast Asian Studies, told the Global Times on Friday.

The EEF is an annual forum held since 2015 in September in Vladivostok to encourage regional and international cooperation to develop the Russian Far East, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

On meetings between the Chinese President and other leaders at the forum, Zhang said, "Should we receive any proposal from other countries (to meet with the Chinese President), China will favorably consider these proposals."

Cooperation between major powers China and Russia will provide a guide to more cooperation and development in this region, and in the future the cooperation could include Japan, the two Koreas and Mongolia, Da said. "The forum has offered a meaningful chance for these countries' leaders to exchange ideas."

Regional cooperation

2018 is the year of China-Russia regional cooperation, and the Far-East Area cooperation is the most successful one, Zhang said at the press briefing. "Dialogue among regional leaders from China and Russia will also be held in Vladivostok. Senior officials from China's nine provinces and municipalities and 13 of Russia's federal subjects will attend the dialogue, which will make the scale of the dialogue unprecedented."

The meeting hopes to boost China-Russia regional cooperation by setting Northeast China-Far East Russia cooperation as a successful example of broadening and deepening regional cooperation between the two countries, Zhang noted.

"Regional cooperation between China and Russia has great potential," said Yang Jin, an associate research fellow with the Department of Russia-Eastern Europe-Central Asia Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing.

Currently, not only the bordering provincial regions like Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang, other developed East China's provinces and municipalities like Shanghai, Zhejiang and Jiangsu, are all conducting cooperation with Russia in areas like tourism and investment, Yang said.

Greater possibilities will be discovered by both sides, and the two leaders will very likely announce new policies to encourage regional cooperation at next week's forum, Da told the Global Times on Friday.


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