Chinese Russian presidents hold talks

Visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin Friday held talks over the further development of their countries’ comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.

Noting that Russia was the first country he has visited and Putin the first head of state he has met since assuming presidency, the Chinese leader said it fully demonstrates the high level and special nature of the China-Russia relationship, Xinhua reported.

He said the talks were of great significance and served as a link between the past and the future.

Xi said the meeting will inject new vigour into the sustained and healthy development of bilateral ties.

He said the bilateral comprehensive strategic cooperation should focus on strengthening mutual political support and on standing firmly behind each other’s efforts to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests.

Extending his warm welcome to Xi, Putin said Xi’s choosing Russia as the first foreign country to visit was a testimony to the great importance both countries attached to the development of bilateral relations.

The Russian president said he was confident that the visit will give a strong boost to the development of the China-Russia partnership.

Earlier, in a written statement issued at the airport upon arrival, Xi said China and Russia were each other’s largest neighbours, and were both major political, economic, technological, cultural and military powers in the world.

He said the two countries were also major emerging markets and important powers to safeguard world peace, security and stability.

Developing bilateral relations would be a priority for China’s foreign policy, Xi said.

Xi is also scheduled to meet Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

In 2012, the China-Russia bilateral trade reached a record high of $88 billion, an increase of 11 percent over the previous year.

The two countries are working to boost bilateral trade, with the goal of reaching $100 billion by 2015 and $200 billion by 2020.

After the Russia trip, Xi will fly to Africa for state visits to Tanzania, South Africa, and the Republic of the Congo.

In South Africa, Xi will attend the fifth BRICS summit in Durban March 26-27.

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