Putin sees meet­ings as chance to strengthen ties

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Ed­i­tor’s note: Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin gave an in­ter­view to the lead­ing Chi­nese me­dia out­lets in the runup to his visit to the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China, where he will take part in the 2014 Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion lead­ers’ meet­ing.

The APEC event will be held in Beijing soon. How does Rus­sia es­ti­mate the role of this as­so­ci­a­tion? What does the Rus­sian side ex­pect from this meet­ing? In your opin­ion, how can Rus­sia and China con­sol­i­date their co­op­er­a­tion within the frame­work of this fo­rum, con­tribut­ing to peace, sta­bil­ity and pros­per­ity of the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion?

PRES­I­DENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: APEC’s pro­gres­sive de­vel­op­ment dur­ing a quar­ter of a cen­tury has per­sua­sively demon­strated the rel­e­vance of this au­thor­i­ta­tive as­so­ci­a­tion for­mat, a plat­form to agree upon common “rules of the game” in the trade and eco­nomic sphere in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion.

It is worth not­ing that all the de­ci­sions reached within the frame­work of the fo­rum are adopted on the ba­sis of the prin­ci­ples of mu­tual re­spect and ac­com­mo­da­tion of the in­ter­ests of each other, which re­flects the spirit of APEC.

Un­der the cur­rent con­di­tions, when some coun­tries pre­fer to act in the in­ter­na­tional arena us­ing the meth­ods of po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic and of­ten even co­er­cive pres­sure, the role of APEC as an ef­fec­tive co­or­di­nat­ing mech­a­nism for build­ing a new re­gional ar­chi­tec­ture is in­dis­pens­able.

Rus­sia ac­tively par­tic­i­pates in APEC ac­tiv­i­ties.

The next meet­ing of the APEC lead­ers, on Nov 10 and 11 in Beijing, will def­i­nitely be one of the key Asia-Pa­cific re­gion events of this year. As host of APEC in 2014, China has pre­pared a huge pack­age of ini­tia­tives.

For ex­am­ple, a road map to­ward an Asia-Pa­cific free trade zone is to be adopted. A plan pro­vid­ing spe­cific mea­sures aimed at pro­mot­ing com­pre­hen­sive co­her­ence of the re­gion, in­no­va­tive de­vel­op­ment and struc­tural re­forms has been elab­o­rated upon.

We in­tend to pur­sue our tra­di­tion­ally close, con­struc­tive co­op­er­a­tion with Pres­i­dent of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China Xi Jin­ping dur­ing fu­ture dis­cus­sions, in­clud­ing in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the sum­mit de­ci­sions.

I am con­vinced that the APEC Eco­nomic Lead­ers’ Meet­ing in Beijing will make a great con­tri­bu­tion to the fur­ther con­sol­i­da­tion of an equal and mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial part­ner­ship in the re­gion.

What is your as­sess­ment of the progress of the Rus­sianChi­nese ties at this stage? What steps are Rus­sia ready to take in or­der to deepen its com­pre­hen­sive strate­gic co­op­er­a­tion and part­ner­ship with China?

Strength­en­ing ties with the PRC is a for­eign pol­icy pri­or­ity of Rus­sia. To­day, our re­la­tions have reached the high­est level of com­pre­hen­sive, eq­ui­table, trust-based part­ner­ship and strate­gic in­ter­ac­tion in their en­tire his­tory.

Rus­sian-Chi­nese re­la­tions have be­come a cru­cial fac­tor in ac­com­mo­dat­ing the for­eign pol­icy in­ter­ests of the two coun­tries in the 21st cen­tury, play­ing a sig­nif­i­cant role in es­tab­lish­ing a just, har­mo­nious and safe world or­der. At the same time, our bi­lat­eral ties hold great po­ten­tial for fur­ther pro­gres­sive de­vel­op­ment.

I would like to em­pha­size that to­day our coun­tries face sim­i­lar tasks. First of all, we need to up­grade in­fra­struc­ture and pro­mote high tech­nol­ogy sec­tors.

We also share many sec­toral pri­or­i­ties, such as en­ergy con­ser­va­tion and en­ergy ef­fi­ciency, de­vel­op­ment of new in­for­ma­tion tech­nolo­gies, trans­port, nu­clear en­ergy, outer space, en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, and pro­duc­tion of mod­ern drugs and med­i­cal equip­ment.

We have con­sid­er­ably en­hanced our co­op­er­a­tion in the en­ergy sec­tor. We have built and put into op­er­a­tion an oil pipe­line from Rus­sia to China and con­cluded agree­ments pro­vid­ing for the in­crease in crude oil sup­plies. In ac­cor­dance with our pre­vi­ous agree­ments, our ex­port of en­ergy re­sources to China has grown and joint ac­tiv­i­ties aimed at ex­plor­ing and ex­tract­ing crude oil and coal in Rus­sia have been un­der­taken.

Con­struc­tion of a large joint oil re­fin­ery plant has been launched in China. Projects re­lat­ing to the peace­ful use of nu­clear en­ergy are be­ing suc­cess­fully im­ple­mented.

An ob­vi­ous break­through was made this year by con­clud­ing an am­bi­tious nat­u­ral gas agree­ment.

This is the largest longterm agree­ment in the his­tory of bi­lat­eral re­la­tions and global trade in gen­eral. Fur­ther­more, we have reached un­der­stand­ing in prin­ci­ple con­cern­ing the open­ing of the western route.

We have al­ready agreed on many tech­ni­cal and com­mer­cial as­pects of this project, lay­ing a good ba­sis for reach­ing fi­nal ar­range­ments.

As Rus­sia and China are coun­tries with rich tra­di­tions and dis­tinct cul­tures, hu­man­i­tar­ian ties are of spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance for them.

Both 2014 and 2015 are see­ing a new am­bi­tious in­ter­state project, the Years of Friendly Youth Ex­changes, be­tween Rus­sia and China. Its pro­gram in­cludes about 600 events in to­tal.

The 70th an­niver­sary of the vic­tory over Nazism will be cel­e­brated next year. Rus­sia and China will carry out a se­ries of cer­e­monies com­mem­o­rat­ing this event. In your opin­ion, what does the joint cel­e­bra­tion of this date by the two coun­tries mean for pre­serv­ing the his­tor­i­cal mem­ory, sup­press­ing the at­tempts to deny the re­sults of World War II, and con­tribut­ing to global peace?

A re­mark­able date will be cel­e­brated in Rus­sia on May 9, 2015— the 70th an­niver­sary of the Vic­tory in the Great Pa­tri­oticWar.

On Septem­ber 3, 2015, cer­e­mo­nial events com­mem­o­rat­ing the end of World War II and the vic­tory of the Chi­nese peo­ple, who forced out the in­vaders, will take place in Beijing.

In the course of ne­go­ti­a­tions in Shang­hai, which took place this May, we agreed with PRC Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping that we would cel­e­brate th­ese mem­o­rable dates to­gether, as noted in our joint state­ment.

Dur­ing the war, the Soviet Union and China were al­lies who strug­gled against a common en­emy, shoul­der to shoul­der.

Our coun­tries have with­stood the se­vere test with honor and borne the brunt of re­sis­tance against the ag­gres­sors.

At the con­clud­ing stage of the war, tens of thou­sands of our com­pa­tri­ots sac­ri­ficed their lives for the lib­er­a­tion of North­east China.

I would like to thank our Chi­nese friends for their care­ful at­ti­tude to­ward the mem­ory of he­roes, the bed of hon­ors, and the war memo­ri­als.

Our brother­hood in arms and mu­tual aid of the peo­ples of our coun­tries have pro­vided a solid foun­da­tion for the present-day Rus­sian-Chi­nese re­la­tions.

To­day, Rus­sia and China are in­ter­ested in en­hanc­ing global sta­bil­ity and de­vel­op­ing broad co­op­er­a­tion on the ba­sis of in­ter­na­tional law and the key role of the UN.

We op­pose the re­turn to the ide­o­log­i­cal con­fronta­tion in world af­fairs and strongly con­demn any at­tempts to fal­sify the his­tory of World War II.

I am sure that the up­com­ing cel­e­bra­tion of the vic­tory’s an­niver­sary in Rus­sia and China will en­hance bi­lat­eral un­der­stand­ing and co­op­er­a­tion even more.

Which fac­tors do you think have led to the fall in global oil prices? Will this process have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the Rus­sian econ­omy? How is Rus­sia tack­ling its neg­a­tive ef­fects?

Of course, the ob­vi­ous rea­son of the de­cline in global oil prices is the slow­down in the rate of eco­nomic growth, which means en­ergy con­sump­tion is be­ing re­duced in a whole range of coun­tries.

More­over, both strate­gic and com­mer­cial oil re­serves in de­vel­oped coun­tries are at their high­est lev­els in his­tory.

There is also the im­pact of in­no­va­tions in the tech­nol­ogy of oil pro­duc­tion, which led to the new vol­umes of hy­dro­car­bon en­ter­ing the re­gional mar­kets.

In ad­di­tion, a po­lit­i­cal com­po­nent is al­ways present in oil prices. Fur­ther­more, at some mo­ments of cri­sis, it starts to feel like it is pol­i­tics that pre­vails in the pric­ing of en­ergy re­sources.

Another neg­a­tive fac­tor is the lack of a dis­tinct, di­rect link be­tween the phys­i­cal oil mar­kets and the fi­nan­cial plat­forms where the trade is con­ducted.

At the same time, the de­riv­a­tives greatly in­creas­ing the vo­latil­ity of oil prices are be­ing ac­tively used.

Un­for­tu­nately, such a sit­u­a­tion cre­ates the con­di­tions for spec­u­la­tive ac­tiv­ity and, as a con­se­quence, for ma­nip­u­lat­ing the prices in some­one’s in­ter­ests.

The steps taken by us are of a com­pre­hen­sive and longterm na­ture.

They en­vis­age fur­ther di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of the struc­ture and growth sources of the Rus­sian econ­omy, as well as the de­crease of overde­pen­dence on the Euro­pean hy­dro­car­bon mar­ket, among other things due to the growth in oil and gas ex­ports to the coun­tries of the Asi­aPa­cific re­gion.

Along­side that, we in­tend to op­ti­mize bud­get spend­ing and mon­e­tary and fis­cal pol­icy.

It is ob­vi­ous that the risks con­nected with the newsi­t­u­a­tion of the global oil mar­ket af­fect quite a wide range of states and com­pa­nies.

That is why we support a con­stant di­a­logue on this is­sue with the lead­ing pro­duc­ers and con­sumers of en­ergy re­sources.

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