China, Russia chant friendship, pledge closer cooperation
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (R) and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev attend a ceremony of signing China-Russia cooperation documents in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 22, 2013. (Xinhua/Ma Zhancheng)
BEIJING. Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- "We should let the Chinese youth know that China-Russia friendship is not ancient history," Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Tuesday as he and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev met reporters in Beijing.
Li suggested Medvedev tell some Chinese university students a story about how China and Russia joined hands to battle devastating flooding on the Heilongjiang River, known in Russia as the Amur, which hit eastern Russia and northeastern China this summer.
"I will," said the smiling Russian prime minister.
Medvedev, who arrived in Beijing early Tuesday for an official visit, is scheduled to visit east China's Anhui Province, Li's home province, and deliver a speech in front of a group of university students there on Wednesday.
In the face of the floods, Li and Medvedev spoke twice on the telephone in August, and the Russian side used its two upstream reservoirs to reduce flooding.
"Russia helped China and showed Russia's friendship with China," said the Chinese premier on Tuesday.
"Surely I will tell the students about our cooperation on this matter when I visit your hometown," Medvedev said, adding that he will also tell the students of the cooperation between the disaster-relief agencies of the two countries.
"It shows our strategic cooperation as well as our friendship," said the prime minister.
The light-hearted conversation came after the 18th regular meeting between Chinese and Russian heads of government held at the Great Hall of the People. The regular meeting, launched in 1996, is an important platform for cooperations.
"We reached many new consensus on practical cooperation, especially on large-scale projects," Li told the reporters.
The two agreed to boost bilateral trade and encourage enterprises from both sides to invest in each other. They will also expand the use of local currencies and facilitate trade and investment. There will be cooperation on aeronautics, astronautics, nuclear energy, high technology, agriculture and infrastructure construction.
Energy cooperation is one of the key topics.
"Energy cooperation between China and a third party will not affect the cooperation between China and Russia," Li told the reporters, adding that the China-Russia energy cooperation is of long-term strategic significance.
Li and Medvedev pledged to carry out a batch of large-scale projects involving crude oil, gas, and construction of refineries.
They also witnessed the signing of an array of cooperation documents, including some business deals.
"We both think that business cooperation plays an irreplaceable role with even more potentials," said the Chinese premier.
Li said that with concerted efforts from both sides, China and Russia can tap the cooperation potential through innovative means and expand bilateral trade and mutual investment in the coming years.
The Chinese premier is confident that the two countries will fulfill the 100 billion U.S. dollar trade target in 2015.
One hundred billion dollars is not the maximum, Medvedev said later on Tuesday during an online chat with Chinese netizens on Xinhuanet.com, the official website of Xinhua News Agency.
"We can even reach 150 billion, 200 billion dollars or more," said the Prime Minister.
With bilateral trade reaching a record high of 88 billion U.S. dollars in 2012, the two countries have pledged to further raise the volume to 100 billion dollars by 2015 and 200 billion dollars by 2020.
"Although the talks were focused on economic cooperation, they are not all about money," Li said. He and Medvedev agreed that people-to-people exchanges are of critical significance to enhance mutual understanding and friendship.
During the meeting, the two sides approved an inventory of activities of the China-Russia Youth Year of Friendship Exchanges.
In March, during Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to Russia, Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to hold the China-Russia Youth Year of Friendship Exchanges in 2014 and 2015.
China and Russia will send 10,000 students to each other as part of the activities, according to Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong.
Since 2006, the two countries have held reciprocal events, including the Year of Russia in China in 2006, the Year of China in Russia in 2007, language years in 2009 and 2010, followed by tourism years.
According to a joint communique after the Li-Medvedev meeting, the two side also pledged to boost cooperation on movies, mass media, literature, medical care and sports meetings.
Tuesday's talks also involved China and Russia's roles on the world stage.
"Sharing same or similar stance on major issues concerning the entire interests of the international community, China and Russia will continue strengthening coordination on foreign policies," said the joint communique, adding that the two countries hold that international issues, including the Syria crisis, the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and the Iranian nuclear issue, should be resolved through peaceful means and political dialogue.
In the joint communique, China and Russia said the outcomes established by the UN Charter and international law should not be challenged, urging "the countries concerned" to be committed to an atmosphere of mutual trust, friendship and cooperation.
"China and Russian are good neighbors and strategic partners, both in name and in essence," said President Xi as he met with the visiting Russian prime minister later on Tuesday.
The two countries should stick to the ideal of good-neighborly friendship and mutual support and step up experience sharing on state governance in pursuit of common prosperity and the welfare of the people of the two countries, Xi said.