Russian President Vladimir Putin held bilateral talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing on Thursday after attending a spectacular military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Tiananmen Square.
Following Xi-Putin talks on Thursday, Russia’s Gazprom and China’s National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) have signed a memorandum of understanding on a project of natural gas deliveries from Russia to China via a new pipeline in Russia’s Far East.
“Today, a memorandum on gas supplies from the Russian Federation’s Far East to China was signed. The memorandum stipulates a third route for gas supplies to China,” said Alexey Miller, CEO of Gazprom.
The agreement defied a dip in Chinese demand for natural gas.
China’s natural-gas consumption through July rose just 2.3 per cent from the same period in 2014, according to data released by China’s National Development and Reform Commission. Apparent demand actually fell by more than 5 per cent in April and May.
In 2014, Gazprom signed a 30-year framework agreement with CNPC for annual deliveries of 38 billion cubic meters of Russian gas through the eastern route pipeline, formally known as the Power of Siberia.
In spite of the ongoing turbulence in financial markets and the International Monetary Fund lowering its forecast for world growth this year, Putin vowed that Sino-Russian agreements will be implemented.
“We see turbulence going on in the world, in our economies. We are ready for this,” Putin told Xi.
“During bilateral meetings today, we have exchanged opinions, and we have full confidence that we will move forward consistently, develop our relations, implement our plans, including large projects which will definitely have a positive effect on the development of Russian and Chinese economies, and the global economy as a whole,” Putin said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping also welcomed the signing of a raft of agreements between the two sides on Thursday.
“Good bilateral relations are a guarantee of close cooperation between our two countries on the international scene,” said Xi.
“About 30 documents will be signed a little later in your presence, and this is clear evidence of the success of your visit,” the Chinese President added.
“A number of documents was signed dealing, in particular, with cross-border electronic trade; yuan loans for trade finance purposes; investment in priority sectors of the Russian and Chinese economies; natural gas supplies to China via the pipeline in Russia’s Far East; cooperation in the development of data processing centres and cloud services in the Asia-Pacific region, and joint oilfield development,” said a Kremlin statement following talks between Xi and Putin.
Both leaders also vowed to fight against “rewriting of history”.
Political leaders in China and South Korea have also criticized calls by conservative Japanese politicians to present a sanitized and sympathetic version of Japan’s history to the public and in textbooks, sidelining wartime atrocities committed by Japan.
“Years pass by, and some young people know less about the history of World War II, others are beginning to forget about it, and still others even try to distort, rewrite this history [of World War II]. In this respect our views are completely identical,” Xi said.
The Russian President had earlier last year signed a law making the denial of Nazi crimes and distortion of the Soviet Union’s role in the World War II a criminal offence.
On Thursday, Putin attended China’s Victory Day parade along with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Presidents of South Africa, South Korea, Egypt, and Kazakhstan among other world leaders.
“I listened carefully to your speech at the parade, I believe that was the main message of your speech addressed to the people of China and the peoples of the entire world, namely: everything must be done to prevent large-scale military conflicts in the future and to minimize military conflicts in general,” Putin told Xi.