Putin about Xi: ‘He is a very good friend and a reliable partner’

Vladimir Putin gave an interview to General Director of China's Xinhua news agency, Cai Mingzhao.

Vladimir Putin gave an interview to General Director of China's Xinhua news agency, Cai Mingzhao.

kremlin.ru
Russian president Vladimit Putin told the Chinese news agency Xinhua, that a certain drop in the total trade turnover is temporary and that he welcomes increasing Chinese presence in Russia’s energy market.

Ahead of his visit to China, Russian president Vladimir Putin gave a comprehensive interview to the Chinese news agency Xinhua. Here is a summary of what he told the agency:

On bilateral trade

Russian President Vladimir Putin has thanked Chinese partners for their readiness to make the structure of Russia-China trade 'more sophisticated'.

"We have been discussing this issue with our Chinese partners for years. I would like to thank our friends for our success in establishing such collaboration in this essential area and achieving the set goals. Those were our common goals. We agreed upon them, and we are now moving in the right direction," Putin told Xinhua.

"I am not sure about the exact figures, here we should consult the relevant reports, last year has seen a considerable increase, of 44 per cent, I believe, in our export of engineering products to the People's Republic of China. That is highly important for us," he said.

"In this regard, one of the most important directions is of course the diversification of our ties, making them more sophisticated, paying more attention to the high-tech area of our collaboration," the president said.

"The existing problems in the world economy have also had an impact on our collaboration, leading to a certain drop in the total trade turnover, but we are convinced that it is a temporary phenomenon resulting from the current situation with certain goods and the exchange rate. Nevertheless, we manage to settle the key issues. We manage to take major steps to improve our trade structure," the Russian president said.

On mutual projects in energy, space, aircraft industry, infrastructure

"China is increasing its presence in our energy market, it is a major shareholder in one of our significant projects, Yamal LNG, and it has acquired 10 percent of the shares in one of our leading chemical holdings, SIBUR. We welcome these Chinese investments not only as a means of placing financial resources but also as a means of further developing our partnership," Putin said.

"We also work together on space programs, in the sphere of aviation, on the construction of a wide-body aircraft and a heavy helicopter. We collaborate on environmental issues, and carry on with large-scale energy projects, including in nuclear energy," he said.

"The two units of the Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant have been operating for 8 years now, and have proved reliable," Putin said.

"We are currently working on another two units, and I think more could be done. We should enhance our cooperation not only in terms of increasing the number of nuclear power plants in China but also by expanding our scientific and technical collaboration in this area," he said.

"Intensive work is underway on the famous Moscow-Kazan High-Speed Rail Line Project. We pay considerable attention to these prospects; this can be only the beginning of our large-scale infrastructure cooperation," the president said.

He added that the two countries were interacting in diplomatic and military fields, developed military-technical cooperation and maintained humanitarian contacts.

On Russia-China strategic collaboration

"Twenty five years ago, we announced the launch of new relations, those of strategic partnership, and 15 years ago, we signed a friendship and cooperation treaty. Since then, hard work has been done resulting in an unprecedented level of mutual trust on which our collaboration is built," Putin told Xinhua.

"As we had never reached this level of relations before, our experts have had trouble defining today's general state of our common affairs. It turns out that to say we have strategic cooperation is not enough anymore. This is why we have started talking about a comprehensive partnership and strategic collaboration," Putin said.

"'Comprehensive' means that we work virtually on all major avenues; 'strategic' means that we attach enormous inter-governmental importance to this work," he said.

Putin admitted that his interaction with the President of the People's Republic of China "gives positive momentum to our relations." "He is a very good friend and a reliable partner," Putin said, speaking of Xi Jinping.

On EAEU

Economic barriers will be gradually removed to develop cooperation between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and China in the Silk Road Economic Belt project, although exceptions are unavoidable in the initial stage, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

"We are engaged in negotiations on two tracks: China-Russia, bilaterally, and China-Eurasian Economic Union," Putin told the Chinese news agency Xinhua in an interview.

"A short while ago, at a meeting in Astana with my counterparts from the Eurasian Economic Union [...] we discussed this possibility and came out in favor of enhancing cooperation with China, drawing on President Xi Jinping's idea to develop the Silk Road Economic Belt," he said.

"To put it bluntly, these issues clearly call for expert examination. We certainly care about the interests of our national producers. However, there is a common understanding that the general development path in a global economy, as well as in our cooperation with China, should involve a gradual removal of all barriers to open collaboration," he said, adding, "In the initial stages, it could imply the establishment of a free-trade zone."

"Being realists, we understand that at the beginning there will inevitably be faults and exceptions. Still, we should outline the way forward," Putin said.

The idea of Chinese President Xi Jinping to revitalize the Great Silk Road "is a very timely, interesting and promising initiative aimed at increasing cooperation with all countries of the world, but primarily with neighbors, because wherever the road goes, it first runs through neighboring territories," the Russian president said.

Read more: Moscow could become an important player in Korea

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