China, Russia enhance ties

By Chen Qingqing in Vladivostok Source:Global Times Published: 2018/9/11 23:53:40

Xi, Putin discuss regional revitalization cooperation



Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands during their meeting on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia on Tuesday. Photo: Xinhua

  

Chinese President Xi Jinping's first visit to the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok in Russia signals a landmark deepening of China-Russia relations and regional cooperation, government officials and business representatives said on Tuesday.

Xi arrived in Vladivostok on Tuesday at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin. This was the first time a Chinese head of state had attended the EEF, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

Xi and Putin held talks and agreed to promote bilateral ties, and safeguard world peace and stability.

During their discussions Xi said China and Russia should deepen cooperation on projects related to the Belt and Road initiative and with the Eurasian Economic Union, focus on energy, agriculture, high-tech and finance.

Trade between Russia and China reached $87 billion in 2017, and will most likely exceed $100 billion this year, said Putin, adding that the two countries have established trust-based relations on political, security and defense matters, according to kremlin.ru.

China-Russia relations are now at their historic best, Chinese Ambassador to Russia Li Hui said in an article published in the People's Daily on Tuesday. Faced with rising protectionism and unilateralism, China aims to improve regional cooperation and facilitate trade based on the win-win principle, said Li.  

Several Russian officials said Xi's visit is highly important and will further enhance cooperation between the two countries.

"It's a good opportunity for us, and also for China, as we are dealing with sanctions from Western countries and China has trade frictions with the US," Alexander Borisovich Levintal, Governor of the Jewish Autonomous Region, a Russian federal subject that borders Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, told the Global Times.

Nikolay Kharitonov, a member of the State Duma, the Russian parliament, also noted that Xi's visit would bring China and Russia closer.

"The Russian Far East regional governments are now working on attracting more Chinese investment and looking into cooperation on agricultural projects," Kharitonov told the Global Times.

Over 7,000 people from more than 60 countries have participated in this year's EEF, which was initially proposed by Putin and has been held annually since 2015. Senior officials from nine Chinese provinces and municipalities, including Heilongjiang, Southwest China's Jiangsu and South China's Guangdong provinces, attended a dialogue with representatives from 13 of Russia's federal subjects on Tuesday to discuss potential projects.

"The scale of the dialogue between Chinese and Russian regional leaders is unprecedented, reflecting the Russian government's strong willingness to attract more Chinese investment to the Russian Far East," Chinese business veteran Xue Xingfa, who has done business in Russia for over three decades, told the Global Times. 

Regional partners

2018 is the year of China-Russia regional cooperation. The EEF has become another important regional cooperation mechanism linking China and Russia. Others include the Yangtze River-Volga River and China's Northeast-Russia's Far East, said Li.

With the support of regional governments from both sides, Russian officials will take potential projects more seriously, Xue said, noting that his company has just signed a deal to import 2 million tons of coal a year from Russia under the enhanced regional cooperation mechanism.

Some business representatives at the forum noted that regional partnerships between China and Russia will help fulfill the development goals of the two governments, which aim to revitalize Northeast China and support the Russian Far East development plan.

China's border regions with Russia are not the only ones actively seeking to increase cooperation between the two countries.

Thanks to the support of the Guangdong provincial government and local officials in the Russian Far East, a methanol-to-olefins project operated by China State Energy Engineering Corp in the Russian Far East will now progress more rapidly, Liu Yunpeng, vice president of the Chinese State-owned company, said on Tuesday. "After we finalize this plan, we'll ship products from Russia to southern China by sea, which will be another example of China-Russia energy cooperation."



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