Dmitry Medvedev is no stranger to China. As the top Russian official in charge of promoting the culture of his country in China during past years, he was a familiar face at the various events of cultural exchanges in the country. Now he has come to China in a new capacity-as Russian president.
The visit came about only a fortnight after Medvedev was sworn in. It was his inaugural foreign tour outside the Commonwealth of Independent States. He was also the first head of state to visit China after the devastating Wenchuan earthquake rocked the country on May 12. All these factors clearly underline the importance the Russian president and government attach to Beijing-Moscow ties, as well as the unique strategic relations between the two.
During Medvedev's visit, the joint communiqué signed by him and Chinese President Hu Jintao was made public. On global and regional issues, China and Russia share similar or close points of views. Now with the joint communiqué, the two can better coordinate their approach to major international and regional issues.
China and Russia, the two biggest neighboring countries in the world, are both permanent UN Security Council members. Their stable and lasting cooperation and friendship are vital to the development and prosperity of both nations, and the peace and stability of the world. Since the two sides built up their strategic partnership of cooperation 12 years ago, their relations have maintained the momentum of all-round, rapid and sound development. Thanks to the joint efforts of both, this partnership has reached unprecedented heights.
China and Russia have laid down the legal groundwork for the sustained development of their bilateral relations and are now free from the burden of historical border disputes. They have reaped bountiful harvests in the economic and trade field. Bilateral trade volume has taken off from $8.01 billion in 2000 to $48.1 billion in 2007. Both are working together for an ambitious objective of $80 billion in trade by 2010. Progress in the cultural and educational fields have greatly promoted the friendly exchanges among the two peoples.
And in China's time of need, Russia's rapid response to the Wenchuan earthquake disaster meant a lot to the Chinese people and has brought the two nations closer. The Russian Government was the first foreign government that donated emergency aid to Sichuan. Russian rescue teams successfully saved survivors in the quake-hit region, while medical teams are currently treating the injured with their advanced equipment.
As Medvedev has only just begun his four-year term, China and Russia can expect more positive action toward their bilateral ties. The Medvedev trip has sent a clear signal that the new Russian president would continue to steer Sino-Russian relations along the path to long-term friendship and cooperation.