Putin dazzles in China
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in China for an official visit. The current meeting of the leaders of Russia and China is the second one this year. Vladimir Putin and Xi Jingping had met before at the opening of the Olympic Games in Sochi in February. The two leaders will pay primary attention to the work within the scope of the UN, BRICS and other structures.
Following the talks, tens of documents are to be signed - 40-43 agreements. Most of the contracts are likely to be signed after the Russian-Chinese talks at the highest level; another one is likely to be signed during a meeting of business leaders of Russia and China. At the meeting, 46 top managers will represent Russian business, including the head of Gazprom Alexey Miller, the head of Rosneft Igor Sechin and other prominent businessmen.
Russia and China are going through the final stage of the negotiations on gas supplies on the eastern route, as well as on the export of liquefied natural gas.
The two leaders agreed to enhance cooperation in the oil industry and start Russian gas supplies to China as soon as possible. According to the joint statement from Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, the countries intend to "strengthen comprehensive Russian-Chinese energy partnership, contribute to further comprehensive cooperation in the oil sector, start the deliveries of Russian natural gas to China, expand cooperation in the coal sector, including through the development of coal fields in Russia and actively pursue the projects to build power-generating facilities in Russia to increase electricity export to China."
According to official figures, China is the main trading partner of Russia. In 2013, the bilateral trade reached a new record high - 88.8 billion dollars. In an interview with Chinese media, Vladimir Putin said earlier that Russia was intended to take commodity circulation with China to the level of $200 billion by 2020.
After bilateral talks, the leaders of Russia and China issued a joint appeal concerning the Ukrainian crisis.
"The parties express serious concerns about the ongoing political crisis in Ukraine," the document says. Putin and Jingping called the feuding parties to "de-escalate the conflict in the country, show restraint and find peaceful political solutions to the existing problems."
"The parties call upon all regions and socio-political groups of Ukraine to enter into a national dialogue, jointly develop a concept for the future constitutional development of the country and fully respect the rights and freedoms of the citizens," the joint statement said.
In addition, Russia and China have announced an intention to oppose the moves to interfere in internal affairs of other countries and condemned the practice of single-handed sanctions, as well as activities to finance or encourage the initiatives aimed at changing the constitutional order of another state.
"The parties emphasize the need to respect the historical heritage of countries, their cultural traditions and independently chosen socio-political system, system of values and ways of development; to resist interference in the internal affairs of other states, abandon the language of single-handed sanctions, as well as assistance, financing or encouraging the activities aimed to change the constitutional regime of another state or involve it in a multilateral association or union," the joint statement said.
The two leaders called to "maintaining stability in international relations, peace and security at the regional and global levels, resolve crises and disputes, fight against terrorism and transnational crime, counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction."
Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping will also meet with representatives of the Russian and Chinese business communities and attend the opening of naval exercises "Joint Sea 2014."
A group of Russian warships of the Pacific Fleet arrived in Chinese waters to take part in the exercises: missile cruiser Varyag, destroyer Bystriy, large antisubmarine ship Admiral Panteleyev, large landing ship Admiral Nevelskoy and other vessels.
According to the Ministry of Defense, the active phase of the exercise will take place on May 22-25. Russian and Chinese marines will train joint actions to escort vessels, release a conditionally hijacked ship, etc. In addition, a joint concert and amateur sporting events will be conducted. The head of the exercises from the Russian side, Deputy Commander of the Russian Navy, Vice Admiral Alexander Fedotenkov, said that one of the main goals of the exercises was to raise Russian and Chinese marines in the spirit of friendship, mutual understanding and cooperation."
The first "Joint Sea" event took place in late April 2012 in the Yellow Sea; the second one was conducted in July 2013 in the Sea of Japan. It was reported that this year's exercise would be held near the disputed Senkaku (Diaoyu) Islands. In this case, Russia will implicitly oppose its position to the United States that supports the Japanese side in the dispute.
The Russian president will also meet with former Chinese President Jiang Zemin. In addition, Putin will hold bilateral meetings with President of Mongolia Elbegdorj Tsakhia, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and President of Iran Hassan Rouhani. A private meeting between Putin and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is planned too. During the meetings, which will be held on the eve of the summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, the leaders will discuss the situation in Ukraine, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. The summit will be held on Wednesday, May 21.