Medvedev in China to expand economic ties

27th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was Monday due to meet Chinese leaders with energy cooperation high on the agenda as the Kremlin angles for even closer ties with the world's second-largest economy.

Energy supplies still account for the bulk of Sino-Russian trade but Moscow also wants to secure Beijing's help in modernising the Russian economy and is seeking broader Chinese investments and know-how in various sectors.

Ahead of his three-day visit to China, Medvedev told the country's official People's Daily newspaper that Moscow and Beijing should work together more closely because they face a common challenge.

"Today, Russia and China are largely solving similar tasks as they move along the path of comprehensive modernisation," he said in comments released by the Kremlin.

"Never before have our ties been characterised by such a high level of mutual trust," Medvedev said, adding that his government welcomed Chinese investments in high-tech industries including aircraft construction.

Trade between Russia and China totalled 25.5 billion dollars in the first six months of this year, according to official data.

Energy will be high on the agenda for Medvedev's talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and other senior leaders.

Russia's Gazprom, the world's largest gas producer, has been in talks with China over gas deliveries for several years, but the two sides have yet to sort out a final pricing mechanism.

Medvedev and Hu are also scheduled to formally launch a pipeline that will carry Russian oil to China, the world's largest energy consumer, as Moscow tries to diversify its exports away from Europe.

Medvedev arrived in Beijing from the northeastern city of Dalian, where he paid respects to Soviet-era soldiers who died defending the port from Japanese invaders and said the ties between the two countries were "sealed by blood."

The Russian president will wrap up his trip to China on Tuesday with a visit to the World Expo in Shanghai.

© 2010 AFP

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