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Premier says third-party pressure will not disrupt China-Russia ties

By ZHANG YUNBI (chinadaily.com.cn)

Updated: 2016-03-16 14:42:17


Premier says third-party pressure will not disrupt China-Russia ties

Premier Li Keqiang greets journalists attending the news conference after the closing meeting of the fourth session of China's 12th National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 16, 2016. [Photo by Wang Zhuangfei/chinadaily.com.cn]

Premier Li Keqiang has said China-Russia relations will not cave in to third-party pressure while the two-way cooperation "will not be targeted at any third party".

Li made the remarks in response to a question about the China-Russia relationship and their business cooperation at a Wednesday press conference in Beijing.

"China-Russia relations will not be affected by changing circumstances in the international environment, and will not cave in to third-party pressure. In the meantime, China follows the principle of nonalignment, and China-Russian cooperation will not be targeted at any third party," Li said.

The Premier addressed pessimistic opinion over the two-way trade figures by saying that "business cooperation has been continuously rising".

Li noted that last year, Chinese imports of oil from Russia increased by eight million tons, but because of plummeting commodity prices on international markets, "China's total imports and exports declined, not just its imports from Russia".

"The physical volume has gone up, but the total trade volume has come down because of the falling prices, and neither country is responsible for that," Li added.

Li referred to an in-depth discussion with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev last year.

"We agreed that we can explore cooperation in the integrated development of oil and natural gas, sectors that will help attract more Chinese investment, and we can also introduce a greater level of diversity into our trade mix," Li said.

Li told the Russian reporter who asked the question that:"I hope that next year, if you come to this press conference again, I can tell you that the business ties between our two countries have turned the corner for the better."

"And I believe the enhancement of our business ties will also reflect the improvement of the global trade situation, and that will be a warm breeze our two countries can bring to global trade," he added.

On the two-way ties, Li said the relationship is an all-dimensional one, and President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin have met with each other quite often.

"There is a close political relationship between the two countries and our business cooperation has been continuously rising because we have multiple operations in quite many fields.

"China has all along developed its relationship with Russia on the basis of mutual respect and mutual benefit, and China pursues an independent foreign policy," Li said.