Russia, China Pledge to Boost Ties on Trade, Foreign Policy, Military

Posted June 5th, 2012 at 8:35 pm (UTC-5)
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Russia and China have pledged to give priority to development of bilateral ties and to oppose foreign intervention in Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in China Tuesday for a three-day visit expected to focus on the Middle East, energy cooperation and regional trade policy.

Mr. Putin, who is making his first trip to Asia since starting his third term as president last month, met with Chinese President Hu Jintao soon after his arrival.

Mr. Hu announced their agreement at a joint press conference.

“China and Russia will strengthen our bilateral support and cooperation, and improve our long-standing relationship. We will strengthen our strategic cooperation on international issues, work together for the revitalization of both our countries, and safeguard the peace, stability and security of the region.”

Mr. Hu also said the two countries will increase military cooperation.

In terms of economy, Russia and China hope to sign agreements aimed at boosting bilateral trade to $100 billion by 2015 during Mr. Putin's visit. The Russian leader said the trade between the two countries has been increasing and that the goal will be reached.

“Bilateral trade between Russia and China increased by 40 percent in 2011…” (pauses for Chinese interpreter translation) “… and I firmly believe that the goal we've set for bilateral trade in 2015 and 2020 will be achieved.”

Russia and China, both permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, have repeatedly vetoed resolutions threatening possible sanctions against Syria for its bloody crackdown on the opposition.

Mr. Putin said the two countries agree on seeking a solution without the use of force.

“Our two countries' views on these issues are the same or similar. Overall, we have already reached a very high level of mutual coordination in order to promote the easing of international crises and issues by the most effective means.''

Later this week, Mr. Putin is scheduled to meet with the men slated to take over key government positions in China when it undergoes a once-in-a-decade transition later this year. On Wednesday Mr. Putin will meet with Vice Premier Li Keqiang, who is expected to be China's next premier, and Xi Jinping, who is tipped as the next president.

While in Beijing, the Russian president will also attend the annual summit of the six-member Shanghai Cooperation Organization, where he is expected to hold talks with the presidents of Iran and Afghanistan. The SCO is seeking to boost regional integration and curb western influence. In addition to China and Russia, the group also includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The four Central Asian states are former Soviet republics.