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Premier Li’s Russia visit to boost all-round cooperation

Updated: Nov 6,2016 11:36 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — The ongoing visit by Premier Li Keqiang to Russia is expected to yield fruitful results in the two countries’ political, economic and cultural cooperation, analysts have said.

Premier Li arrived in St. Petersburg on Nov 6 for the 21st China-Russia Prime Ministers’ Regular Meeting and an official visit to the northern neighbor.

During the visit, the Premier and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, will discuss major areas of interest and cooperation projects and sign agreements in areas including trade, energy, aviation, customs and education, according to Li Huilai, assistant foreign minister of China.

Medvedev has said that his meeting with Premier Li will be much meaningful and impressive. Also, the visit comes on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation between China and Russia and the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the China-Russia strategic partnership of coordination.

Analysts believed that the current political relations between China and Russia are at the best time in history. Premier Li’s visit will definitely solidify and deepen political and strategic mutual trust between the two neighbors.

The prime ministers’ meeting will also issue a joint communiqué, which signals the confidence that China and Russia can safeguard peace and stability of the region and the world at large and establish a fair and rational world order. The two countries will tell the world that they will remain coordinated with and supportive to each other on major international issues.

The upcoming meeting between the two heads of government will give a new impetus to the development of bilateral relations, Chinese Ambassador to Russia Li Hui said.

“This is a great event for China-Russia relations this year,” Li said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

The current China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination is mature and stable, and it has become a model for relations between the world’s major countries, said the ambassador.

He also noted that the relations feature mutual respect and equality in the political sphere, as well as comprehensive mutual benefit and win-win cooperation on the economic front.

Russia, which has been under great pressure due to Western sanctions, is facing an economic transformation that needs to be promoted by an industrial upgrading.

Sergei Luzyanin, director of the Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said new windows of opportunity have been opened for boosting bilateral cooperation in the areas of trade, economy, investment, technology and the booming e-commerce industry.

Infrastructure is another promising area for bilateral cooperation, he said, adding that Chinese investment and joint projects are expected to play a huge role in Russia’s Siberia and Far East regions.

Moreover, the alignment of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative with the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) will also give new opportunities to the development of economic and trade ties between China and Russia.

The Belt and Road Initiative comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and aspires to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road routes. The EEU groups Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia.

Li Hui expressed confidence in the prospects of cooperation between the two countries, citing their highly mutually complementary economies and their agreement to coordinate in the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the EEU.

Meanwhile, further promoting cooperation in people-to-people and cultural exchanges will be another important aspect of Premier Li’s visit.

Frequent people-to-people and cultural exchanges have been witnessed in recent years, analysts said.

China and Russia have held major events such as reciprocal years of languages, tourism, friendly youth and media exchanges, mutual visits of diplomats, journalists, students, as well as art festivals, film weeks and media forums, with the aim of further strengthening mutual understanding and friendship, analysts said.

They believed that on the basis of the already matured people-to-people and cultural cooperation mechanism, the Premier’s visit will deepen it with new bilateral agreements in this field.