Chinese and Russian leaders sign joint statement on world order

Chinese leader Hu Jintao’s visit to Russia seems to be quite fruitful for both sides.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Hu Jiantao signed the Joint Declaration on the International Order in the 21st Century, a declaration reaffirming China and Russia's call for respecting international law and establishing a stronger U.N. role internationally.

Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao at their second meeting in two days on Friday that he was satisfied with the relationship between the two regional giants. Putin called Jiantao’s visit a “key event in bilateral relations this year,” reports the official site of the Russian President.

"I can note with satisfaction that the character of our relations give us full grounds to say that Russia and China have built ties of true partnership and a strategic character," Putin was quoted as saying by the ITAR-Tass news agency.

"We have worked out a new mechanism for our cooperation and we can note with satisfaction that we have developed good cooperation in the sphere of security and economic ties are developing."

The two leaders had met Thursday evening at Putin's country residence outside Moscow, and then, too, they gave an upbeat assessment on Russian-Chinese relations, which have flourished in recent years and were cemented in the border treaty ratified this year.

After their meetings in Moscow, the two leaders were due to meet Tuesday in Kazakhstan at a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional security grouping they dominate, which also includes the ex-Soviet Central Asian nations of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. They were then scheduled to meet at next week's Group of Eight meeting in Scotland.

"Such close, prolonged meetings between the two leaders are meant to demonstrate the new level of relations between Moscow and Beijing, which have been achieved following the final regularization of the territorial questions," the Kommersant daily commented.

After decades of rivalry, Moscow and Beijing have developed what they call a strategic partnership since the 1991 Soviet collapse. They have pledged their adherence to a "multipolar world," a term that refers to their opposition to the perceived domination of the United States in global affairs.

China and Russia have been concerned about increased United States' influence in Central Asia since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, which led to American troops' deployment in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan for operations in neighboring Afghanistan.

China has purchased billions of dollars (euros) worth of fighters, missiles, submarines and destroyers after the Soviet collapse, becoming the No. 1 customer for struggling Russian defense industries. Russia and China have significantly intensified co-operation in piloted space flights, head of the Russian Aviation and Space Agency, Rosaviakosmos.

Now it is eager to gain access to Russian oil and gas to fuel its booming economy, and has lobbied hard for priority access over Japan to an oil pipeline carrying Siberian crude to Asian markets. The fast-growing Chinese economy is in search of crude all over the world.

Russian-Chinese trade stood at about US$20 billion (Ђ16.6 billion) last year, and Hu told the ITAR-Tass news agency that it could reach between US$60 billion and 80 billion (Ђ49.7 billion and Ђ66.2 billion) by 2010.

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