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China, Russia See Steady Development of Bilateral Links
With the state visit to Russia by China's President Hu Jintao from Monday, the two neighboring countries are expected to push further their strategic cooperative partnership that has advanced well in recent years.

Hu's visit, at the invitation of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, is his first overseas trip since China's new leadership took office in March. During his stay in Russia, Hu will also take part in the third summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which groups China, Russia, and the four Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

In addition, Hu is also planned to attend the celebrations marking the 300th anniversary of the founding of St. Petersburg.

Observers in Moscow believe Hu's visit will bring the Sino-Russian strategic cooperative partnership further forward.

China and Russia have witnessed healthy and steady developments of their relations in recent years, and enjoyed marked progress in cooperation in different areas, after they signed the landmark Sino-Russian Good-Neighborly Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation on July 16, 2001, which lays a solid foundation for long-term development of a strategic partnership.

The treaty has since not only proved to be a guarantee for the advancement of bilateral ties in the new century, but also served as a new model of state-to-state relations, guided by the belief of "security from mutual trust and cooperation for mutual benefits ".

The close contact between leaderships of the two countries have helped promote bilateral ties. Under a regular meeting mechanism, the two countries exchanged visits at high levels. Leaders of the two countries also met frequently at regional or international forums.

Last year, President Putin paid a state visit to China, during which the two countries issued a joint statement reiterating the determination from both sides to deepen the strategic cooperative partnership between them.

The bilateral mechanism launched in 1996 for regular meetings between government heads has paved the way for cooperation at all levels and in all fields.

During the seventh regular meeting in Shanghai last year, prime ministers discussed ways to expand cooperation in sectors such as energy, nuclear power, space exploration and telecommunications, and pledged more efforts in speeding up the related joint projects.

In the international arena, China and Russia have strengthened coordination and mutual support over important issues within the framework of the United Nations.

They both support a new, just and rational international order and a larger UN role in affairs, and share similar stands on the Middle East issue and the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula.

As they are both permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and Russia shoulder great responsibilities for the world peace and stability. Stable and good relations between them are important to peace and stability in the region as well.

In June 2001, China, Russia and four central Asian countries set up the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), with the aim of maintaining regional peace, security and stability, and contributing to the establishment of a new and just political and economic order in the world.

China and Russia have pledged coordination and support for each other on issues of common concern, as they will "forever be good neighbors, friends and partners, and never be enemies."

President Hu said during a meeting with Putin last year that the mutual trust and strategic partnership between China and Russia have reached an unprecedented level, and that bilateral ties have entered a mature and stable time.

The favorable political environment has brought economic cooperation between the two sides onto a fast track.

The trade between China and Russia registered record annual highs in the past four years. Last year, their trade totaled some 12 billion US dollars, and in the first four months of this year, it hit 4.5 billion dollars, up 30.3 percent from a year earlier.

Among the joint projects, plans have been worked out to build oil pipelines linking Angarsk in Russia's Siberian region with Daqing in northeast China. Russia's gas giant Gazprom has joined China's west-to-east gas transmission project.

The two countries have also decided to expand cooperation in machinery building, telecommunications, forestry, aviation and other areas.

President Hu's upcoming visit to Russia is expected to lift the Sino-Russian strategic partnership of cooperation to a new level, as stable Sino-Russian ties are in the interests of both countries and are desired by both peoples.

(Xinhua News Agency May 26, 2003)

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