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China, Russia vow to boost relations

Updated: 2011-04-14 07:12
By Wu Jiao ( China Daily)

SANYA, Hainan - China and Russia on Wednesday pledged to enhance their economic cooperation as they seek to further strengthen their ties.

China, Russia vow to boost relations
Chinese President Hu Jintao shakes hands with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during a meeting on the sidelines of the BRICS summit on Wednesday afternoon, April 13, 2011. [Photo by Wu Zhiyi/]

The two countries also promised to step up their coordination on major global issues including reform of the global financial system and the Libya crisis.

During their one-hour meeting in the resort city of Sanya in southern China's Hainan province, President Hu Jintao and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev agreed to increase bilateral trade and enhance bilateral investment and high-tech cooperation, according to a news release from China's Foreign Ministry.

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Further cooperation between the two sides is expected in sectors including crude oil, natural gas, nuclear energy and hydropower.

Economic and technological development have become the focus of the Russian president's domestic agenda.

Medvedev said in January that he wants the Russian economy to grow 10 percent annually within the next five years, in line with other BRICS nations.

To realize that ambitious plan, Medvedev is pinning a lot of hope on China for trade, investment, technology and development expertise, said observers.

The complimentary economic structures of the two, with China importing more to feed its fast-growing economy and Russia being a major resources exporter, have further boosted bilateral economic cooperation, said Xing Guangcheng, an expert on Russian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Russia agreed in 2009 to supply China with oil for 20 years, and shipments are expected to increase to 30 million metric tons a year from the agreed 15 million metric tons.

Apart from energy, the two countries can strengthen cooperation in non-energy fields, including aviation and aerospace, environmental protection and energy processing, said Xing.

China became Russia's top trading partner last year, with trade jumping around 43 percent to $55 billion, according to China's customs.

Medvedev expects bilateral trade to reach $100 billion in the near future, around the same level at that between China and other major economies including Japan and the US, he said in an interview with China Central Television (CCTV).

While energy currently accounts for 55 percent of Russian exports to China, the two countries should focus on new areas of investment and create joint ventures, Medvedev said.

Medvedev is in China for the Third BRICS Summit scheduled for Thursday.

More than 60 Russian business leaders will attend the BRICS summit to seek projects that will diversify economic ties.

This year, the two countries will also celebrate the 10th anniversary of their Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation. Both Hu and Medvedev agreed that the anniversary would be an opportunity to deepen the friendship between the two countries.

The leaders also discussed the situation in Libya and the Korean Peninsula, the Foreign Ministry said without giving more details.

The five BRICS countries are expected to make a joint statement on the Libya crisis after their meeting on Thursday morning. Medvedev has made improving ties with China a priority, pushing for more engagement with China in BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Bloomberg quoted Fyodor Lukyanov, an analyst at the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy in Moscow, as saying.

Zhou Wa contributed to this story.