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Sino-Russian economic ties in strong momentum
Updated: 2004-09-23 16:51

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is due to start his first official visit to Russia on Thursday and attend the ninth regular meeting between prime ministers of the two neighbors.

During his Russia tour which will end on Saturday, Wen is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, hold talks with his Russian counterpart Mikhail Fradkov, and confer with the chairmen of both the upper and lower houses of the Russian parliament.

Wen has said prior to his visit that the two countries will conclude talks on Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization during his stay here, preparing for the final signingof the relevant agreements.

Wen's visit is expected to play a significant role in promoting the strategic partnership between China and Russia and strengthening bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

Under the landmark Sino-Russian Good-Neighborly Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation which was signed in 2001, bilateral ties have entered a new era of comprehensive and steady development, in which mutual political trust has been enhanced andmutually beneficial cooperation has been deepened.

China and Russia understand and support each other on issues concerning their sovereignty and territorial integrity, closely cooperate in the fight against terrorism and coordinate and cooperate in handling world affairs.

Leaders of both counties have pointed out that deepening Sino-Russian good-neighborly friendship, mutually beneficial relations and strategic partnership of cooperation is a strategic priority of their foreign policies.

The favorable political environment between China and Russia has laid a sound foundation for the expansion of their economic and trade cooperation. The leaders of both nations have been paying great attention to the development of bilateral economic and trade ties.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and his Russian counterpart Putin pledged during their meeting in Russia's Saint Petersburg last Mayto make breakthrough in the development of bilateral economic and trade relations and achieve drastic growth in trade volume.

The eighth regular meeting between prime ministers of both countries held last September outlined preferential areas for cooperation, including machinery and high-value added equipment, high-tech industry, energy resources and large-scale demonstrationprojects.

During his visit to Russia in May this year, Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People's Congress, proposed constructive measures for expanding cooperation fields and uplifting the level of bilateral cooperation. He also encouraged capable companies from both countries to launch large-scale joint projects.

During the summit meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in June this year, Hu and Putin agreed to strengthen cooperation both in key projects and at the regional level, expand mutual investment and standardize trade orders.

Economic and trade cooperation between China and Russia has witnessed rapid development with the support of their leaders. China has become Russia's fourth largest trade partner and Russia ranks eighth among China's trade partners.

The bilateral trade hit a record high of 15.76 billion US dollars last year and the figure for the first eight months of this year was 12.87 billion dollars, up 35.4 percent over the sameperiod of last year. It is expected that their two-way trade will reach 20 billion dollars by the end of this year.

The two neighbors are exploring new forms and paths for expanding cooperation in various sectors, especially the energy resources and high-tech industries.

China has called on Russian companies to participate in the development of its western region, and Russia welcomes China's involvement in the development of Siberia and Far East.

Stressing that the oil and gas industries are a priority area of cooperation, Russia has promised to increase oil supply to China by rail. Its oil export to China by rail is expected to reach 7 million tons this year and 10 million tons next year.

Wen has said that the leaders of both sides have reached consensus and have worked hard to develop a plan for an oil pipeline project which will link Russia's Angarsk with China's Daqing. and Russia will be able to export a total of 15 million tons of oil to China by 2006.

In addition, Wen noted that construction of nuclear plants was another important field of Sino-Russian energy cooperation and China has decided to establish more nuclear power plants and buy advanced technology and equipment through public bidding.

However, both sides acknowledge that the level of bilateral economic and trade ties does not correspond to the two countries' economic capacity and international status and more efforts are needed to develop their strategic partnership.

China and Russia agree that with rapid economic development, geographic advantages and regular meeting mechanisms, China and Russia will be able to push their economic and trade cooperation to a new stage.

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