PUTIN'S THIRD TERM: Vladimir Putin walks in the Kremlin in Moscow on May 7 as he goes to take his oath of office (XINHUA/AFP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin's upcoming state visit to China will be his first state visit outside the Commonwealth of Independent States since he started his third term as president in May. During the visit scheduled for June 5-7, China and Russia will discuss measures to deepen their all-round strategic cooperative partnership in political, economic and security cooperation.
Chinese and Russian observers said China and Russia have formed a good tradition of high-level communication, and the two sides need to make more efforts on strengthening economic cooperation and work together to deal with security challenges in their region and the world.
According to the schedule, Chinese President Hu Jintao and Putin will sign a joint statement of deepening all-around strategic cooperative partnership between China and Russia. The statement will call for the establishment of a new security concept based on mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and cooperation. Chinese and Russian experts pointed out that Putin's visit will set the active tone of developing bilateral relations in next 10 years.
Shi Ze, Director of the Center for Eurasian Security and Development at the China Institute of International Studies, stressed that Putin's visit to China will be a sign that the Sino-Russian relationship has reached a new level. Shi pointed out that in 2010, China and Russia upgraded their relationship to an allround strategic cooperative partnership. "Such a partnership not only poses new demand but also inputs new drive to the bilateral relationship."
He said Putin's last visit to China was in September 2010, six months ahead of Russia's presidential election. China was the only country that Putin visited before the election, he added.
Alexander Lukin, Director of the Center for East Asian and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Studies at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, agreed that Putin's Chinese trip will mark good interaction between the two neighbors. "Now we have developed a good tradition on our state leader level," he said, mentioning that Russia was also the first state that Hu chose to visit after assuming the Chinese presidency in 2003.
Some said it is not necessary to exaggerate the significance of Putin's visit to China. Guan Guihai, a professor and expert in Russian studies at Peking University, said since Putin is scheduled to attend the coming SCO Summit on June 6-7 in Beijing, his visit to China is a convenient arrangement.
In May, Putin sent Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to participate in the Group of Eight Summit held in the United States, triggering vast comments throughout the world. Guan said in this context overemphasizing how Putin values the relationship with China will easily create uncomfortable competition among the three major powers.
Currently, both sides are confident about their relationship. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping said on May 29 that Hu and Putin agreed that they will continue to treat developing Sino-Russian relations as a diplomatic priority. He also said China and Russia have been firmly supporting each other on issues concerning their respective core interests, while the two sides' political mutual trust is strengthening.
Russian Ambassador to China Sergey Razov said there are no thorny problems in the Sino-Russian relationship, and the two countries share wide common interests.