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Putin in China: Moscow and Beijing raise relations to a higher level

June 06, 2012, 11:52 UTC+3
Putin will participate in a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on Wednesday
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MOSCOW, June 6 (Itar-Tass) — On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin began his state visit to China. On the first day in China the Russian leader had negotiations with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao and high-ranking Chinese politicians. Putin will participate in a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on Wednesday.

In the presence of the presidents the two countries signed 12 documents and another five documents on the sidelines of the summit, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily reported. Vladimir Putin and Hu Jintao put their signatures to a Russian-Chinese joint statement on broadening relations of partnership and strategic cooperation. Among other documents interdepartmental documents can be noted, including memoranda on mutual understanding between the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Informatization, the Federal Tourism Agency and the Chinese State Tourism Directorate.

He told reporters that the negotiations were “trust- based, detailed and fruitful” and noted that he takes the development of relations with Russia as one of the priorities in the Chinese foreign policy and will seek to bring them to a higher level.

Before the state visit to China Vladimir Putin published an article in the main Chinese newspaper Renmin Ribao. He named Russian-Chinese relations in the article “as an example of interstate relations of new type, which are free from various superstitions and stereotypes,” the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily noted. It makes some sense, the newspaper noted. For the last 20 years Moscow and Beijing succeeded to lift lingering border problems and turned in strategic partners in the political sphere (one can just recall about the consolidated position of both countries in the UN on Syria) and naturally in the economy. This year, bilateral trade reached a record high of 83.5 billion dollars and is about to top 100 billion dollars. At the Shanghai currency exchange the deals with Russian rouble have already exceeded to the volume of transactions with British pound.

On Wednesday, the SCO summit will be held in Beijing and President Vladimir Putin will participate in it, the Kommersant daily reported. The newspaper learnt that before the SCO summit Russia succeeded to win a very important diplomatic victory. Moscow managed to slow down the debates on several projects, which could bring down Russia’s weight in the SCO and make China’s role stronger. Among these projects is the decision to create a bank of development and a special account of the organization as a regional counterpart of the International Monetary Fund, as well as a free trade zone in the SCO space.

If all three projects had been implemented, a cheap Chinese currency would have created an additional temptation for many members of the organization in view of a coming second wave of the crisis and falling oil prices. Then Beijing would have gained an opportunity to dictate their conditions to its partners on many issues, including on those not directly linked with the SCO activities. Finally Russian diplomats succeeded to convince their SCO colleagues that it is premature to take decisions on these projects at a forthcoming SCO summit.

Despite the tactical victory, which Russia won, Moscow will have more and more difficulties to challenge China’s growing influence in the SCO in the future, the Kommersant daily reported. Even if China does not acquire the levers of SCO financial management, Beijing will be able to give credits to the SCO states on a bilateral basis, which the country did in the last few years.

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