Agreements cement relationship with Russia

Xi and Putin witness signing of documents for co-operation in financing, aerospace and rail

President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Friday cemented the partnership of the two powers, boosting political and economic ties with the signing of more than 30 documents.

Joint statements issued after two and a half hours of talks between the leaders said they agreed to prioritize the connection between China's Silk Road Economic Belt initiative and Russia's trans-Eurasia continent strategies.

Agreements cement relationship with Russia

Russia and China signed a pact in which Russia has preliminarily agreed to deliver natural gas through a western route in addition to the eastern route, which will make China the biggest consumer of Russian gas when delivery starts. In May of last year, the countries signed a $400 billion gas deal.

Xi and Putin also witnessed the signing of documents including co-operation on corporate financing, exchanges of aerospace observation data, avoiding double taxation, production capacity as well as high-speed rail.

Xi told a news conference following his talks with Putin that the countries will expand opening up to each other, link their development strategies and deepen integration.

"This is helpful to boosting the economic integration of Eurasia, expanding the shared economic space and better facilitating the development of China and Russia, as well as regional countries," Xi said.

Putin spoke highly of the healthy development of ties and noted the achievements from exchanges and co-operation in various fields.

Sun Zhuangzhi, a researcher of Russian and Central Asian studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said collaboration in connectivity strategies "will give a boost not only to bilateral trade but also efforts in shaping a huge market that covers all of Eurasia".

Sun said that Russia, a major oil exporter, has suffered greatly from an economic downturn and the stability of its currency market, and that the adjustment in its economic structure "depends on whether it will expand economic co-operation with foreign countries".

Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research with Xiamen University, said China might be the only country with enough financial power and a big enough market to be a stable buyer of Russia's energy resources in the long run.

The summit came one day ahead of a parade marking the 70th anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War, Russia's term for World War II.

Earlier on Friday, Xi was given a grand welcome in the airport and was then whisked away to the Kremlin for a meeting with Putin, whom Xi has met 10 times over the past two years.

Xi also was expected to meet with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, as well as Russian World War II veterans and representatives of Russian experts who once worked in China.

Xi noted that China and Russia, as the main Asian and European battlefields in World War II, will host events to mark the 70th anniversary of the war.

Both nations hope to "remind people around the world of the hard-won peace" and the determination to avert wartime tragedy from reoccurring, Xi said.