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Putin's visit to strengthen bilateral ties

By Cui Haipei  (China Daily)

09:25, October 10, 2011

BEIJING - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will pay an official visit to China this week to further consolidate bilateral ties, his first trip abroad since he announced his planned return to the presidency.

Accompanied by a 160-member delegation including top business leaders, Putin will attend the 16th regular meeting of the two countries' premiers at the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao.

Putin is scheduled to arrive in the Chinese capital on Tuesday. He and Wen are likely to talk with reporters after meeting and officiating at the signing of bilateral agreements.

Putin will also meet President Hu Jintao and top legislator Wu Bangguo during his two-day stay here, to discuss bilateral relations and regional and international issues.

His latest visit to Beijing follows his announcement last month that he will seek a third presidential term in March polls that may keep him in power until 2024.

Putin has paid frequent visits to China as president and prime minister since he took office in 1999.

It is reported that the two countries will sign 38 agreements worth up to $5.5 billion, and plans to pump Russian gas to China over the next three decades are expected to top the agenda.

Putin stressed the importance of ties with China at an investors' conference last week.

"We have a huge common border with China. We have lived together for thousands of years," he said.

"Today our bilateral ties are perhaps at their highest level in history aside from a very brief Soviet postwar period."

While the timing of the trip appears to be a coincidence, observers say it is richly symbolic and could see Putin lay out his foreign policy priorities for years to come.

"It's symbolic that Putin, who's very well known in China, is going there at this particular time," Sergei Sanakoyev, head of the Russian-Chinese Center of Trade and Economic Cooperation, a Moscow-based lobby group, was quoted by AFP as saying.

Zhao Huasheng, director at the Center for Russia and Central Asia Studies at Shanghai's Fudan University, told Reuters the significance of this trip exceeds that of a normal prime ministerial-level visit.

Since China became Russia's top trading partner last year and the two countries are aiming to nearly double bilateral trade to $100 billion by 2015 and then to $200 billion by 2020, AFP said Putin's expected return to the presidency will likely give a further boost to ties.

Moscow and Beijing, permanent members of the UN Security Council, on Oct 4 vetoed a draft resolution, which meant to strongly condemn "the continued grave and systematic human rights violations by the Syrian authorities" and threatened punitive measures against the Middle East country.

On Monday, Vice-Premier Wang Qishan will meet his Russian counterpart Alexander Zhukov for the 15th meeting of the Chinese and Russian Premiers' Regular Meeting Committee.

On Tuesday, Wang will meet Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin for bilateral energy talks.

Also on Tuesday, State Councilor Liu Yandong will have a regular meeting with Zhukov on cultural cooperation between the two neighbors.

Li Xiaokun contributed to the story.

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Mishra at 2011-10-102.50.225.*
It is very important for BRICS to stay strong and stay focussed.If Russia comes closer to China that will bring India much closer as well. NATO is engaged in occupying countries and misinforming the world through their media,someone has to stand up and it was a great move both by both China & Russia to veto for Syria.Mishra,India
LovingChina at 2011-10-10183.39.98.*
A strong, energetic, intelligent and pragmatic PM like Putin deserves only praises that comes with a long visionary radar_over_the_horizon for peace & prosperity in the region, if the world places elsewhere are too noisy and troublesome! Yes, indeed, both Russia and China are sharing long boundaries over the ages of Earth life that mutual respects and joint developments to govern the progressive securities, peace and prosperities for all their people are the most important single fundamental element to co-exist happily and securely. This pair must set itself to champion the course of balancing and neutralising against any foreign threat in these delicate Far East Asia, Southern Asia, Eastern Europe and Pacific Ocean regions. Best wishes!
  

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