Xi,Putin vow stronger ties

Visit to Sochi first time a Chi­nese pres­i­dent has at­tended ma­jor over­seas sports event

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By WU JIAO in Sochi, Rus­sia, and ZHAO SHENGNAN in Bei­jing

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping started his New Year diplo­macy by meet­ing his Rus­sian coun­ter­part Vladimir Putin on Thurs­day, the sixth time they have met within a year, in keep­ing with their plans to con­sol­i­date re­la­tions.

They ex­changed ideas on pro­mot­ing ties and ma­jor projects, and on re­gional and in­ter­na­tional is­sues.

The meet­ing came shortly af­ter Xi ar­rived in Sochi, Rus­sia, for the Win­ter Olympics, the first time a Chi­nese pres­i­dent has at­tended a ma­jor sports event over­seas.

Xi said the Sochi Games are a sym­bol of how Rus­sia is head­ing to­ward pros­per­ity and af­flu­ence.

Dur­ing the meet­ing, Putin con­veyed his Lu­nar New Year greet­ings to Xi and the Chi­nese peo­ple.

Putin said Rus­sia and China have con­trib­uted to world sta­bil­ity and se­cu­rity.

Amid what Wash­ing­ton called “spe­cific” se­cu­rity threats, Xi’s pres­ence at the Olympics showed the spe­cial bond be­tween the neigh­bors, ob­servers said.

Ac­cord­ing to Rus­sian pres­i­den­tial press sec­re­tary Dmitry Peskov, about 60 for­eign lead­ers plan to at­tend the Olympic events, among whom 44 will be present at the open­ing cer­e­mony on Fri­day.

As the two coun­tries pre­pare to jointly mark the 70th an­niver­sary of the end of World War II in 2015, they have the re­spon­si­bil­ity and shared in­ter­ests to safe­guard the post­war or­der, given that Tokyo is try­ing to break the re­stric­tions, an­a­lysts said.

Since Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe took of­fice in 2012, he has aimed to amend the coun­try’s paci­fist Con­sti­tu­tion and de­velop a full-fledged mil­i­tary. He also drew world­wide crit­i­cism in De­cem­ber by vis­it­ing the Ya­sukuni Shrine, which wor­ships war dead, in­clud­ing war crim­i­nals.

Ruan Zongze, vice-pres­i­dent of the China In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies, said that as per­ma­nent mem­bers of the United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil and ma­jor anti-fas­cist forces, China and Rus­sia share a con­sen­sus to up­hold his­tor­i­cal facts.

“Their moves would send a warn­ing to Ja­pan,” Ruan said.

Sources said it was Putin who pro­posed the joint cer­e­monies and Xi agreed to “com­mem­o­rate the vic­tory of the world’s anti-fas­cist war and pre­serve the mem­ory of his­tory”, Ja­pan’s Asahi Shim­bun re­ported ear­lier. Feng Yu­jun, di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tute of Rus­sian Stud­ies at the China In­sti­tutes of Con­tem­po­rary In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions, said be­sides ter­ror­ism, Rus­sia is also highly alert to the re­vival of mil­i­tarism in Ja­pan.

China and Rus­sia “have a lot of things to do” in terms of co­or­di­nat­ing se­cu­rity poli­cies and han­dling such threats to re­gional peace, he said.

In 2010, China and Rus­sia is­sued a joint state­ment to mark the 65th an­niver­sary of the end of the war.

En­hanced trade and high-tech co­op­er­a­tion will also bol­ster the de­vel­op­ment of economies in the emerg­ing mar­kets, Feng said.

Dur­ing the three-day visit, Xi is sched­uled to at­tend the open­ing cer­e­mony of the Win­ter Olympics in Sochi and meet the Chi­nese del­e­ga­tion.

Chen Yurong, a se­nior re­searcher at the China In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies, said Xi’s visit would boost eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion, which en­joys a bright fu­ture as the economies are com­ple­men­tary due to eco­nomic re­struc­tur­ing.

For in­stance, Rus­sia’s shift of its en­ergy ex­ports from Europe to Asia would meet China’s need for en­ergy, while China’s in­vest­ment will help Rus­sia de­velop non-en­ergy sec­tors, she said.

Bi­lat­eral trade reached $89.2 bil­lion in 2013, up 1.1 per­cent from the year be­fore, ac­cord­ing to Chi­nese cus­toms. Con­tact the writ­ers at wu­jiao@ chi­nadaily.com.cn and zhaosheng­nan@chi­nadaily. com.cn

ALEXEI NIKOL­SKY / REUTERS

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and his Rus­sian coun­ter­part Vladimir Putin chat by video from Sochi, Rus­sia, on Thurs­day with crews aboard Chi­nese and Rus­sian war­ships pro­vid­ing se­cu­rity sup­port for ves­sels re­mov­ing chem­i­cal weapons from Syria.

BRIAN SNY­DER / REUTERS

Last-minute prepa­ra­tions are made on Thurs­day in Sochi, Rus­sia, for the open­ing of the 2014 Win­ter Olympics.

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