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China, Russia to hash out 3-year plan|
Updated: 2008-05-22 19:46
MOSCOW -- China is one of Russia's most important partners in the world arena, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in a recent interview with major Chinese media in Moscow.
"Russia regards China as one of its foremost partners in its foreign policy," Medvedev said on the eve of his first visit to China after taking office on May 7.
The president expressed sincere condolences to the leaders and people of China over the devastating earthquake that shook the country's southwestern province of Sichuan on May 12.
"Our thoughts are with you at the moment, and we believe that China is capable of emerging from the aftermath of the disaster," he said.
Medvedev added that Russia, which has already sent several batches of humanitarian aid as well as rescue and medical teams to China, is willing to offer more help in the future.
On the Beijing Olympic Games, Medvedev expressed his belief that China has the capability to successfully organize the grand sports event, and that Chinese athletes will excel at the games, as will their Russian friends.
"At least half of Russia will watch the Beijing Games with enthusiasm. Sports telecasts by Russian media will record the highest audience rating," he added.
Sino-Russian relations have strengthened steadily since the signing of the bilateral Good-neighborly Friendship and Cooperation Treaty in 2001, Medvedev said, adding that mutual coordination is making progress in every field.
"The three-year plan inked by the leaders of the two countries has completed its term. We are now going to make a new plan, which will further enhance bilateral relations," he said.
Medvedev spoke highly of the theme years -- the Year of Russia in China in 2006 and the Year of China in Russia in 2007, describing them as significant events in the history of relations between the two nations.
The grandiose events, involving people from all walks of life in both countries, bore testimony to not only the high level of bilateral relations and coordination, but also the good-neighborly friendship that connects the two peoples, the Russian leader said.
The present task is to gain momentum from the theme years to facilitate economic and cultural cooperation in the decades to come, he added.
On his upcoming two-day visit to China starting Friday, Medvedev said any topic of interest to both sides could be discussed.
"I hope that consultations between me and Chinese President Hu Jintao, as well as other Chinese leaders, will cover a wide range of issues," he said. "I am full of expectation for the visit, which will be substantial and constructive."
Consolidated ties have triggered an increase in bilateral trade volume in recent years, Medvedev said, adding that two-way trade volume is targeted to reach 60 billion US dollars this year.
Chinese imports from Russia mainly include products from the energy and technological sectors. The two sides should also emphasise the optimization of trade structure, apart from increasing trade volume, he said.
Russia has paid close attention to the development of the Chinese economy, the demands of which are totally very different from those 10 to 15 years ago, Medvedev pointed out.
In the present scenario, Russia has to strengthen the competitiveness of its enterprises, and manufacture products of higher standard, the president said
"Such cooperation is beneficial for both sides," he noted.
Medvedev expressed confidence that the 21st century will be a time for the two countries to cooperate in astronautics, nanometer technology, shipbuilding, auto manufacturing and other high-tech areas, to boost the development of their economies.
He said Russia plans to enhance and develop energy cooperation with China, which is crucial to bilateral trade and economic ties.
Russia exported energy valued at some 500 million dollars to China in 2001, but the figure surpassed 6.7 billion dollars last year, Medvedev said.
The two nations have reached a basic agreement on the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline and its branch to China, said Medvedev, adding that negotiations between Russia's largest oil company Rosneft Oil and the China National Petroleum Corporation are nearly complete.
While expressing his willingness to establish new oil refineries with China, he said natural gas cooperation between Russia and China is also under discussion.
FRIENDLY FOREIGN POLICY
Medvedev said Russia's foreign policy during his presidency will be predictable, honest and creditable, while preserving the interest of the Russian people.
"Russia's foreign policy should be rational, practical, friendly and open," he said.
"Russia supports all nations and countries to achieve free, peaceful and democratic development, supports the idea of settling conflicts within efficient regimes such as the United Nations and existing international laws, and through talks," he added.
Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev toasts during a meeting with the Russian national ice hockey team in Moscow, May 20, 2008. [Agencies]