Li's visit to enhance China-Russia practical co-op
MOSCOW - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's upcoming visit to Russia is expected to enhance bilateral practical cooperation with a wide array of deals ranging from energy to people-to-people exchanges to be signed.
Li is scheduled to arrive here Sunday for an official visit, his first to Russia since taking office in March 2013, after wrapping up his trip to Germany.
During the visit, the premier will attend the 19th China-Russia Prime Ministers' Regular Meeting with his counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, and a forum themed "open innovation."
Li is also expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as Valentina Matviyenko, chairwoman of the Federation Council, the upper house of parliament, and Sergei Naryshkin, speaker of the State Duma, the lower house.
Over 50 mutually beneficial agreements will be inked during the visit and the two sides will reach new consensus in such areas as energy, high-speed rail and finance.
"They will inject new impetus into the development of the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination," Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping has told the media.
He said Li's visit is expected to enhance the political mutual trust between Beijing and Moscow and strengthen their support for each other on issues related to sovereignty and territorial integrity.
"China stands ready to strengthen coordination and cooperation with Russia on international issues," Cheng said.
Before Li's visit, China has reiterated its willingness to scale up its practical cooperation with Russia in areas such as aviation and aerospace, high-speed rail, finance, innovation and infrastructure construction, as well as to expand people-to-people exchanges.
Observers say China-Russia diplomatic relations, established 65 years ago, are at an "all-time high point" with frequent exchanges of high-level visits, surging trade and investment, and an increasing number of large-scale projects.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has met with Putin nine times since taking office in March last year, four times this year alone. Their meeting in Shanghai in May ushered the China-Russia relationship into a new era of development.
The historic meeting also led to breakthroughs in an array of large-scale strategic projects in various areas such as aviation and energy.
As each other's biggest neighbor and two fast-growing emerging-market economies, China and Russia have been making unremitting efforts to spur bilateral trade and investment.
China has been the No. 1 trading partner of Russia over the last four consecutive years and is also the fourth largest source of investment for Russia.
Two-way trade reached 89.2 billion US dollars last year and plans are afoot to raise the volume to 100 billion dollars by 2015 and to 200 billion dollars by 2020.