Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has wrapped up a two-day trip to Russia, which secured a slew of agreements on energy, finance, hi-technology and innovation, and trade.
Wen visited Russia Wednesday and Thursday, during which he co-chaired the 17th regular China-Russia premiers’ meeting with counterpart Dmitry Medvedev and held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
These were the first meetings between Chinese and Russian leaders since the Communist Party of China (CPC) held its 18th National Congress in Beijing last month.
Energy cooperation is a crucial area of China-Russia cooperation. It has widened its scope far beyond oil and gas to cover nuclear energy, coal, electricity, energy efficiency and renewable energy.
The leaders agreed at the meeting Russia would build two additional reactors at the Chinese nuclear power plant Tianwan, marking Russia’s further engagement in the project.
Ahead of the prime ministers’ talks, China and Russia held their 9th energy negotiators’ meeting, at which both sides expressed satisfaction with the running of the existing oil pipelines between the two countries and agreed to actively boost cooperation and increase the scale of crude oil trade.
As for the natural gas trade, even though the two countries have not seen eye to eye on pricing, they conducted candid coordination and beefed up mutual understanding and trust, which laid a solid foundation for further cooperation.
At the energy negotiators’ meeting, the two countries signed a roadmap for China-Russia cooperation in the coal sector and a power supply and price agreement between the State Grid Corporation of China and Russia’s Eastern Energy Company, which are conducive to enlarging Russia’s exports of coal and electric power to China.
Announcing the kick-start of a mechanism for regular meetings of local leaders from both countries is another result from Wen’s trip.
The two sides also outlined a plan to strengthen cooperation between China’s Northeast Region and the Russian Far East and East Siberia, which abut each other geographically.
Economic exchanges and trade are a strong pillar of the China-Russia strategic cooperation.
China has become Russia’s largest trade partner and bilateral trade volume in 2012 is expected to hit a record high of 90 billion U.S. dollars.8 The two sides are eager to build on the momentum and further expand the trade scale and optimize trade structure, in a bid to reach the bilateral trade targets of 100 billion dollars in 2015 and 200 billion dollars in 2020, which were set by the two countries’ leaders.
The Chinese yuan (RMB) and Russian ruble (RUB) are already tradable and the China-Russia currency settlement mechanism has expanded to include general trade.
On Wednesday, China Development Bank and Russia’s Sberbank signed an accord on financial cooperation, which is seen a stride forward for the two countries’ banking sector.
In the wake of a successful hosting of National Year and Language Year by each country, the two sides have started hosting Tourism Years in each.
They also plan to hold the Year of Youth Exchanges, encouraging young people from both countries to participate in various bilateral cooperative projects and activities in a bid to set up a multi-layer network of youth exchanges.
So far, the ties between China and Russia have entered a new stage, which features providing opportunities for each other and taking each other as a preferential cooperative partner.
China-Russia friendly cooperation has every reason to flourish and demonstrate more vigor and liveliness with the efforts of both sides.