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Chinese president says his Russia visit highlights special partnership


17:34, March 20, 2013

BEIJING, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping said Tuesday his forthcoming visit to Russia shows the high level and special nature of the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination between the two countries.

"The fact that I will visit Russia, our friendly neighbor, shortly after assuming presidency is a testimony to the great importance China places on its relations with Russia," Xi said in a joint interview with Xinhua and media outlets from the other four BRICS countries, namely, Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa.

Xi said that China and Russia, the first leg of his maiden overseas tour as China's president, "are each other's major and most important strategic partners of coordination and both countries accord priority to their bilateral relationship in their overall diplomatic agenda and foreign policy."

Xi spoke highly of China-Russia relationship, saying the two sides have completely settled their boundary issues, supported each other's core interests on the world stage and promoted democracy in international relations.

Bilateral trade has surged by 14 times in 20 years and reached a record 88.2 billion U.S. dollars last year. Cooperation on major strategic projects in energy, investment, aviation and space and other fields is booming, and cultural and people-to-people exchanges are dynamic.

"China-Russia relations have entered a new phase in which the two countries provide major development opportunities to each other and see each other as priority cooperation partners," Xi said, calling for efforts to grow the ties at the next stage by consolidating strategic and political mutual trust, reinforcing mutual support in issues concerning each other's core interests, expanding pragmatic cooperation and deepening cultural and people-to-people communication.

The two countries will work together to reach "ahead of schedule" the 100-billion-U.S.-dollar bilateral trade target set for 2015, he added.

"In short, China and Russia have the confidence and ability to translate the high-level political relationship into concrete results," he noted.

Xi said he was looking forward to exchanging views with Russian President Vladimir Putin and other political leaders on bilateral ties during his visit to Russia.

"I have met with President Putin before. He attaches high importance to Russia's ties with China. We found a lot in common during our talks, which I still remember vividly," Xi said.

The Chinese president said he had in youth read classics by famous Russian writers, such as Alexander Pushkin, Ivan Turgenev and Leo Tolstoy, whose works had "a large impact" on the Chinese.

"The Chinese people cherish a profound goodwill toward the people of Russia," Xi added.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry announced Monday that Xi will visit Russia, Tanzania, South Africa and the Republic of Congo on March 22-30 and attend the fifth BRICS summit on March 26-27 in Durban, South Africa.

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