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Putin: Sino-Russian Ties to Grow

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country attaches great importance to its relations with China, which have made rapid progress over the past few years.

In a interview with Chinese news media in Moscow on October 11, Putin, who will visit China from Oct. 14-16, said: "We have successfully overcome fundamental disputes and there are no matters that we can't discuss with a candid attitude."

Putin said the two countries' older generations of statesmen cooperated amicably and laid a sound foundation for bilateral ties.

"I would like to make joint efforts with China's new generation of leaders including President Hu Jintao to further solidify the foundation and build up an updated, sound and comfortable relationship."

On the subject of anti-terror issues, Putin thanked the Chinese people and leadership for their support for Russia during the hostage crisis at the beginning of September in a Beslan school siege in southern Russia, in which more than 320 innocent citizens were killed.

The president said the support from China was particularly important and valuable at a difficult time for Russia.

Commenting on Russia's foreign policy adjustments after September 11, 2001, Putin said the world is now facing a new threat of terrorism and the international community must make joint efforts to deal with it.

Putin stressed the need for the avoidance of double standards in the fight against terrorism.

"In order to launch more powerful strikes on terrorists, all countries in the world should make efforts together and avoid double standards."

It is ridiculous to define some radical movements in certain areas as "terrorists," he said, while others are described as being engaged in the "struggle for independence."

On bilateral cooperation in economy and trade, the president said the trade volume between the two countries, which has been increasing over recent years, is expected to reach US$20 billion in 2004 and could rise to US$60 billion in coming years.

He said the two countries can develop close cooperation in the field of energy. China needs steady energy supplies from abroad while Russia can produce abundant oil and natural gas.

"Russia hopes China becomes a reliable energy market with its rising demands. No factors in politics, ideology and economy can hold back cooperation in this field," Putin said.

Putin expressed the hope that the 2004 Friendship Year of Russian and Chinese Youth can step up communications and exchanges between young people of the two sides, saying the future of both countries depends on the youth.

He suggested that young people from both sides establish proper contacts that may help solve specific problems in bilateral ties and make the economies and cultures of the two countries more competitive in the world.

Commenting on the role that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has played in world affairs, Putin said SCO members had already been cooperating in political fields and in combating terrorism, and now economic cooperation has been added to the organization's agenda.

Putin believed the SCO will play an active role in a broader range of global affairs. He said many more countries are becoming interested in taking part in activities of the SCO and that this is evidence that the organization's status and influence in the world arena arw rising.

(Xinhua News Agency October 14, 2004)

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