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Xi to talk with Putin to set future direction

By ZHOU WA (Xinhua)

09:58, March 19, 2013

President Xi Jinping will establish the direction of future China-Russia ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his first foreign visit to the country on Friday.

The two leaders will push the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination to a higher level, Chinese and Russian experts said on Monday during a video conference held by Russian Information Agency Novosti.

Xi and Putin will draw up strategies for the future development of bilateral ties and identify fields of possible cooperation between China and Russia, said Wan Chengcai, a researcher of Russian studies at the Xinhua Center for World Affairs Studies.

China-Russia ties are maintaining strong momentum, and Xi's visit shows that China will continue the partnership under the new leadership, he said.

According to Wan, the two leaders may talk about economic cooperation projects that could help achieve the goal of increasing bilateral trade volume to $200 billion by 2020.

Given that the United States is moving its diplomatic focus to the Asia-Pacific region and the world economy is still stuck in sluggish recovery, the two leaders may also discuss international trends and common challenges, Wan added.

Xi's visit shows Russia is still a priority for China's foreign policy, and the two countries will play a constructive role in the healthy development of an international system, said Wu Enyuan, a researcher on Russian studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Choosing Russia as Xi's first destination shows continuity and stability for the China-Russia relationship, which means strategic cooperation between China and Russia will be improved, no matter who leads the two countries, said Alexander Lomanov from the Institute of Far Eastern Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Xi's visit has more symbolic than practical meaning as it is the first meeting between the new leadership of the two countries, said Lomanov.

China and Russia have enjoyed a healthy relationship since they established diplomatic ties in 1949. The former Soviet Union was the first country to officially recognize New China.

The political ties between China and Russia have developed well as the two countries have set up exchange mechanisms between officials from all levels and the two ruling parties.

The two countries held the same or similar positions on global issues such as UN Security Council reform, global economic governance, climate change, food security and energy security.

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