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China-Russian ties to be boosted

China Daily

China and Russia are expected to sign a series of agreements during President Xi Jinping's visit to Russia, which will turn the solid China-Russia political ties into practical cooperation projects.

Russian Ambassador to China Sergei Razov briefed reporters on Tuesday ahead of Xi's visit — his first foreign trip as China's president — to Russia on Friday.

During the visit, Xi will sign a joint statement, setting the direction of the development of China-Russia ties, identify the main fields of cooperation and discuss the two countries' stances on international affairs, Razov said.

There are more than 20 detailed agreements to be reached during Xi's visit, and officials and business representatives from both countries are currently in final negotiations, according to Razov.

As for the outside attention paid to bilateral energy cooperation, Razov said government officials are engaged in close negotiations and four main documents are being discussed.

The ambassador said both countries have made great progress on key negotiations.

Top executives from Russian energy companies have recently visited China, and company heads from Chinese energy giants PetroChina and Sinopec are part of Xi's high-ranking delegation.

China and Russia have enjoyed healthy political ties thanks to the exchange mechanisms between officials and the ruling parties of the two countries.

China and Russia have the same or similar positions on many international issues such as UN Security Council reform, global economic governance, climate change, food security and energy security.

There is a consensus between Chinese and Russian political observers that the China-Russia economic ties are not as good as political relations.

The trade volume between China and Russia is relatively small, compared with those between China and the United States or Europe, said Niu Jun, a professor of international affairs at Peking University.

There are structural problems in China-Russian trade, because the trade spectrum is not wide enough, and it will take time to solve these problems, Niu said.

To boost Beijing-Moscow economic ties, Xing Guangcheng, a researcher in Russian studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said China and Russia can further promote cooperation in non-energy sectors, such as high-technology, finance and tourism.

As China-Russia trade volume increases, it is expected that the economic ties will catch up with the political relations, Xing said.

Trade volume between China and Russia grew 11.2 percent in 2012 from the previous year to $88.16 billion. That number is expected to surpass $100 billion in 2015 and reach $200 billion by 2020, a target set by the two countries' leaders in 2012.

Xing said that Xi's visit will set the tone of future bilateral cooperation.

Like his predecessors, Xi has chosen Russia as the destination of his first foreign visit. The trip comes only one week after he was sworn in as president.

zhouwa@chinadaily.com.cn