Russian President Vladimir Putin turned his attention to trade
and martial arts yesterday before concluding his two-day visit to
China and returning to Moscow.
In the morning Putin and President Hu Jintao
attended the opening ceremony of a high-level
Sino-Russian economic forum which was viewed as an opportunity
for the two countries to discuss detailed trade issues.
In a speech at the forum Putin highlighted the cooperation
between Russia and China on energy issues explaining that Russia
had become China's fifth-largest energy supplier.
Putin said Russia would step up energy cooperation with China
and increase oil and gas supplies to its neighbor.
On Tuesday the two countries signed three deals on oil and
natural gas cooperation and released a summary of negotiations
between the China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) and the
Russian pipeline company Transneft. .
"Transneft and the CNPC are performing a feasibility study on
laying a branch oil pipeline to China," said Putin yesterday. "If
the project can be implemented, which I have no doubt about, it'll
help improve Russia's oil supply to China." He also highlighted
potential cooperation on a gas pipeline network.
"We are studying different routes for a gas pipeline -- one from
the east and the other from the west of Siberia," Putin explained
to about 800 participants at the forum.
He expressed the hope that the two countries could further
cement economic ties in relation to their fast-growing trade and
prompt further cooperation in the high-tech, environmental
protection, aviation, machinery, transportation, finance, education
and services sectors.
Trade volume between China and Russia has been increasing
rapidly in recent years. It reached US$29.1 billion in 2005 -- up
37.1 percent year on year.
Hu said Sino-Russian cooperation in energy and natural resources
had great potential. He indicated that both countries should
proceed with the long-term perspective in mind and be aware of each
other's interests in energy cooperation.
Such mutually beneficial endeavors should boost economic
development in both countries while maintaining stability on the
international market, Hu observed.
Before his departure Putin, who holds a black belt in judo,
visited the Shaolin Temple for a taste of Buddhism and martial
arts. Shaolin, established some 1,500 years ago in central China's
Henan Province, is renowned for combining martial arts and Zen
Buddhism which features long sessions of meditation. .
Putin arrived in the provincial capital Zhengzhou in the
afternoon. Xu Guangchun, Party Secretary of Henan, and Province
Governor, Li Chengyu, met with him at the airport. Xu briefed Putin
on local social and economic development and explained the
province's importance as the birthplace of Chinese martial
Putin said, "I'm glad to see Henan and some regions of Russia
have developed very good and friendly cooperation. I hope the
province can continue to be fully involved in this and make it a
significant foundation for the Russia-China ties."
(Xinhua News Agency March 23, 2006)