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Russian envoy tells of his love for China

By ZHAO SHENGNAN (China Daily)

08:57, April 01, 2013

Vladimir Putin (left), who was Russian prime minister at the time, and Russian Ambassador to China Sergei Razov talk in the Russian embassy in Beijing in 2009. Provided to China Daily

It was always easy to observe Sergei Razov's affection for China and his efforts to boost Sino-Russian ties over the past seven and half years when he served as Russian ambassador.

This was evident when the 60-year-old diplomat held his farewell news conference on Thursday, which lasted for nearly two hours. He said he will soon leave his post and China, where he has spent 12 years in total.

"No matter where I work after leaving China, my heart will be with China forever," he told reporters at the embassy.

The announcement came days after President Xi Jinping's visit to Russia from March 22 to 24, his first overseas trip as president. The visit saw both sides commit to developing bilateral relations as their top diplomatic priority, and more than 30 economic agreements were signed.

Razov said the success of Xi's visit is "beyond expectation", while the implementation of the agreements needs enduring efforts from both sides, including from Russia's new ambassador.

"There are no perfect relations in the world, but it is satisfying to witness Sino-Russian relations reach their best level ever," he said, citing the more than seven-hour meeting between Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow as evidence.

A long-awaited memorandum on gas supplies to China was also signed on the sidelines of Xi's visit, marking the end to years of arduous negotiations on pricing.

"A deal is likely to be signed this year," Razov said.

Since he was appointed to the position in June 2005, bilateral trade volume has increased from around $30 billion to more than $88 billion last year. Both countries aspire to cross the $100 billion threshold by 2015 and the $150 billion line by 2020. Razov said he is optimistic that these milestones can be achieved ahead of schedule, but he voiced concern over the structure of bilateral trade and insufficient Chinese investment in Russia.

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