PUTIN WELCOME: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao greets Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at a welcoming ceremony in Beijing on October 11 (LI XUEREN)
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin paid an official visit to China at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao on October 11-12, Putin's first visit abroad since he declared his intention to run for president next year.
The visit strengthened diversified practical cooperation and promoted the Sino-Russian strategic cooperative partnership in an all-around way, said Chinese analysts.
During the visit, Putin also met with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Wu Bangguo, Chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress, the country's top legislature.
"During this visit, Putin not only discussed concrete plans to promote bilateral practical cooperation with Chinese leaders, but also exchanged views on the future development of Sino-Russian relations from the viewpoint of a presidential candidate," said Wang Lijiu, a research fellow with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR).
Putin co-chaired the 16th regular meeting between the prime ministers of China and Russia with Wen in Beijing. The meeting had a comprehensive review of the results achieved since the 15th regular meeting last year, and made plans for cooperation in the next stage.
"To gain more room in the international market, we need to make joint efforts to push our cooperation to a new high," said Putin after talks with Wen in Beijing.
The regular meeting between the prime ministers of China and Russia was established in 1996. Since its establishment, this mechanism has become an important platform of guiding and coordinating practical cooperation between the two countries.
Hu praised the regular meeting as "pragmatic and productive." And he said he believed Putin's visit will further promote the development of the Sino-Russian "comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation."
Currently, cooperation between China and Russia shows good momentum, covering fields including economy, trade, energy, science and technology.
Official Chinese statistics show China's investment in non-financial sectors in Russia rose to $594 million in 2010, up 43.8 percent over the previous year. The money went into energy, mining, forestry, manufacturing and infrastructure projects.
In 2010, trade between the two countries amounted to $55.45 billion, making China Russia's largest trade partner. In the eight months from January to August 2011, their trade jumped to a new high, hitting $50.8 billion, up 43.7 percent compared to the same period of last year. The figure for the whole of 2011 could exceed $70 billion.
Bilateral trade has been restored to the level before the financial crisis in 2008. According to a consensus reached between Hu and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during Hu's state visit to Russia in June, the two sides will strive to enhance bilateral trade volume to $100 billion by 2015 and $200 billion by 2020.