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Yearender-Commentary: A new era for China-Russia relationship in 2019

(Xinhua)    09:26, December 28, 2019

by Xinhua writer Shi Hao

MOSCOW, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, opened a new era for their countries' strategic partnership in 2019, heralding an epoch of greater development in bilateral win-win cooperation.

The outgoing year marks the 70th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between the two sides, and has witnessed frequent meetings between Xi and Putin as the two heads of state are at the helm of the countries' friend "ship" and have charted out its future course.

In a highlight of their interactions, Xi and Putin laid a new milestone in China-Russia relations by signing a joint statement in Moscow in June on elevating bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era.

The goal of such a new kind of partnership is for both sides to give more support to each other as they pursue their own development paths, preserve respective core interests, and protect sovereignty and territorial integrity.

To build that partnership, the two sides have vowed to closely coordinate with each other in aligning their development strategies, expand mutually beneficial cooperation in trade and investment, and further expand overall bilateral ties.

Throughout the year, Xi and Putin held talks or attended various events in a number of cities including Beijing, Moscow, Russia's second largest city of St. Petersburg, the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, the Tajik capital of Dushanbe and Brazil's Brasilia.

The passing year has also witnessed closer personal bonds between the two leaders. In April, China's Tsinghua University granted Putin an honorary doctorate, and Russia's St. Petersburg State University awarded Xi an honorary doctorate in June. The two world-renowned institutions are the two leaders' alma mater respectively.

In Dushanbe, Putin congratulated Xi in person on his 66th birthday ahead of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia in June.

Practical cooperation of the two countries has delivered new progress over the year. In December, Xi and Putin via a video call jointly launched the China-Russia east-route natural gas pipeline, a landmark project of bilateral energy cooperation and a paradigm of deep convergence of both countries' interests and win-win cooperation.

The pipeline with a total length of over 8,000 km is scheduled to provide China with 5 billion cubic meters of Russian gas in 2020, and the amount is expected to increase to 38 billion cubic meters annually from 2024.

The Tongjiang-Nizhneleninskoye cross-border railway bridge and the Heihe-Blagoveshchensk cross-border highway bridge are about to open to traffic and poised to significantly facilitate the movement of people and freight between the two giant neighbors.

After China-Russia trade hit a record high of over 100 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, bilateral trade has maintained a sound momentum this year, heading toward the target set by Xi and Putin of 200 billion dollars by 2024.

No matter how external conditions change, closer-than-ever China-Russia ties will bring concrete benefits to the people across entire Eurasia and serve as a strategic stabilizer in a world fraught with risks and uncertainties.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Sheng Chuyi, Bianji)

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