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China-Russian ties get 'even better'

By Zhao Shengnan (China Daily)

08:26, March 22, 2013

The "very good" relations between China and Russia need to be taken to a higher level, a senior Russian official said.

The importance of the ties is an area of universal consensus in Russia, Andrey Denisov, Russia's first deputy minister of foreign affairs, said.

"What we have is very good, effective and unique, but now it's just not enough," he said.

Denisov was speaking during an exclusive interview with China Daily shortly before President Xi Jinping's arrival in Moscow on Friday in his first foreign trip as head of State.

Beijing said the landmark visit, a week after Xi became president, shows the special nature of the relationship and will see agreements struck on oil and a natural gas pipeline.

"I don't expect anything sensational. And honestly, I think both side don't need them. What we want to see, and what we are sure we will have, is the progressive, sustainable and dynamic development of bilateral relations in all areas," he said.

Not an alliance

Denisov, who had worked in China for about 10 years, said one of the most important lessons he has learned in his diplomatic career in China is that relations should be "pragmatic".

He rejected the so-called Russia-China alliance, saying the countries are united by their "common interests, shared values and similar approaches to international affairs".

The concept of an "alliance" stemmed from China and Russia having a common front on various global issues, including Syria and the Korean Peninsula.

Western observers view closer China-Russia ties as evidence of a shared interest in countering the US-led Western alliance's domination of global affairs.

The time of the world being led by locked political and military blocs has passed, Denisov said.

Even though Russia and China do share the basic principles of international law and the United Nations charter, "We are not a couple or a family, we are two different countries with our own national interests," he said.

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