China, Russia pledge to step up closer partnership

Updated: 2007-11-06 23:43

MOSCOW -- China and Russia on Tuesday pledged to step up their partnership as they inked sweeping deals ranging from politics and diplomacy to energy and finance.

The agreements were signed after visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and his Russian counterpart Viktor Zubkov conferred on bilateral relations. The two sides agreed bilateral cooperation in political, economic and humanitarian areas "has yielded abundant and substantial results" as the two prime ministers commended the fruitful cooperation achieved under the decade-long Sino-Russia strategic partnership of cooperation.

Wen, who arrived here on Monday, held talks with Zubkov for two hours before witnessing the signing of a series of agreements, including a China-Russia Joint Communique.

Of the nine agreements, four concern future cooperation on the peaceful use of nuclear power. The two sides also agreed to complete the construction of an oil pipeline connecting China and Russia by the end of 2008.

Highlighting that Sino-Russian ties were facing a favorable situation of development, Wen called on the two countries to seize the strategic opportunity to boost bilateral relations to a higher level.

The Chinese premier also noted that the Chinese government would continue the policy of further promoting the partnership, peace and friendship throughout generations formulated by leaders of the two countries.

The two prime ministers both agreed to boost bilateral cooperation by improving the quality of the two-way trade, expanding mutual investment, strengthening cooperation on high-tech projects, boosting energy cooperation, settling cross-border protection and the utilization of water resources, and promoting exchange and cooperation in such fields as education, culture, public health, tourism and sports, including at the provincial level.

Up to September this year, the bilateral trade volume had exceeded the total volume of last year, topping US$33 billion, and the volume is expected to top US$40 billion for the whole year, hitting a record high, according to the statistics provided by the Russian side.

Hailing the bilateral ties as "at their highest point," Zubkov said the Russian-China partnership serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and plays a positive role of maintaining peace and development of the world, and therefore are "solid" and "promising."

This is the 12th regular meeting between the two prime ministers.

Another item high on the agenda of Wen's two-day official visit was attending the closing ceremony of the year-long program of the Year of China in Russia, which involved more than 200 activities.

Wen spoke highly of the success of the theme-year program, a reciprocal event of the Year of Russia in China held in 2006, suggesting the two nations should continue their work to promote such programs in an attempt to further enrich the Sino-Russian partnership.

Wen and Zubkov also exchanged views on a wide range of heated international issues, and other issues of common concern.

During his visit to Russia, Wen met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, held a seminar with the Russian parliament members, and delivered a speech at a China-Russia high-level economic forum.

Russia is the final leg of Wen's four-nation visit, which included Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Belarus. He also attended the sixth Meeting of Prime Ministers of the Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Uzbekistan's capital Tashkent.

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