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Foreign Ministry Holds Briefing on Premier Wen Jiabao's Official Visit to Russia and Tajikistan and Attendance at the 15th Regular Meeting between Chinese and Russian Prime Ministers & the 9th Prime Ministers' Meeting of the SCO Member Countries

Premier Wen Jiabao will officially visit Russia and Tajikistan and attend the 15th regular meeting between the Chinese and Russian prime ministers in Russia and the 9th prime ministers' meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member countries in Dushanbe from November 22 to 25, 2010. The Foreign Ministry held a briefing for Chinese and foreign media on November 18 where Assistant Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping, Director-General of the Department of European Affairs of the Ministry of Commerce Sun Yongfu and Deputy Director-General of the International Department of National Energy Bureau Gu Jun introduced the background, main activities and significance of Premier Wen's visit and attendance at the meetings and took questions of journalists. Deputy Director-General of the Information Department of the Foreign Ministry Tian Qi chaired the briefing in which nearly 100 Chinese and foreign journalists participated.

Cheng said Premier Wen's visit is a major high-level exchange between China and Russia, China and Tajikistan and under the SCO framework. It is of great significance to deepening China-Russia strategic partnership and China-Tajikistan good-neighborly friendship and cooperation, advancing the SCO cooperation and promoting peace, stability and common development in the region.

I. Official visit to Russia and attending the 15th regular meeting between the Chinese and Russian prime ministers

Cheng noted China and Russia are each other's biggest neighboring country and key strategic partner. To pass friendship from generation to generation, maintain mutually beneficial cooperation, strengthen strategic collaboration and develop a healthy strategic partnership between China and Russia which are both permanent members of the Security Council and emerging markets serves the fundamental interest of the two countries and their people and helps guarantee peace, stability and development in the region and the world at large.

He stressed China-Russia strategic partnership has kept a sound momentum of development since its establishment in 1996 and stands at an unprecedented high level today. The two countries both take the partnership as one of their diplomatic priorities. Leaders of both countries keep close exchanges on the bilateral and major international and regional issues and coordinate position in a timely manner, which has further enhanced political mutual trust and strengthened strategic collaboration between the two countries. China and Russia support each other on the major issues concerning their core interest, such as national sovereignty, territorial integrity, political system and development road. The bilateral trade and economic cooperation has recovered strongly from the international financial crisis and energy cooperation made historic breakthroughs. Their cooperation in the region shows new bright points. The two peoples understand each other and enjoy profound friendship, which has strengthened the social foundation of China-Russia relations. The two countries have effectively cooperated within the UN, APEC, the SCO and BRIC, communicated and coordinated closely on major international and regional issues and contributed significantly to safeguarding peace and stability in the region and the entire world and promoting multi-polarization and the building of a new international political and economic order.

He mentioned that Premier Wen will exchange in-depth and frank views with Russian leaders on the following topics during the visit. First, enhance political mutual trust, expand mutual support, enlarge strategic partnership and deepen strategic partnership comprehensively; second, review the bilateral cooperation over the past year, plan the priority direction and tasks of the next-stage cooperation, study new ideas and measures on reinforcing bilateral pragmatic cooperation and push forward bilateral all-round pragmatic cooperation; third, exchange views on bilateral cooperation in the key sectors of trade, economy, energy, high-tech, finance and agriculture and at the local levels; fourth, review the outcomes of the "Year of Language" event, discuss new measures to expand cultural cooperation, enhance the mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples and consolidate China-Russia friendship from generation to generation; fifth, exchange opinions on the current international situation and the major international and regional issues of common concern and coordinate position. The two sides intend to sign a joint communiqué of the 15th regular meeting between the Chinese and Russian prime ministers and a number of inter-governmental cooperation documents.

Sun introduced China-Russia trade and economic cooperation. He said the bilateral trade cooperation has maintained a sound momentum and witnessed rapid growth since the beginning of this year. From January to October, the bilateral trade volume reached US$45.1 billion, with a year-on-year growth rate of 43.4%. By the end of this year, it is expected to exceed US$50 billion and approach the pre-crisis level. The bilateral trade structure has been improved continuously with higher percentage of electro-mechanical and high-tech products. China's import of electro-mechanical products from Russia is on the rise. The bilateral mutual investment keeps expanding, the quality of economic and technological cooperation gets better and the bilateral mutual investment has exceeded accumulatively US$3 billion. The bilateral cooperation on energy sources, nuclear energy, aviation, aerospace, technology, transport and telecommunications move forward steadily and large cooperation projects on crude oil and natural gas pipeline, Tianjin Refinery, Tianwan nuclear power plant and helicopter R&D are well underway. The bilateral financial cooperation is stepped up. The two countries will expand the RMB-ruble settlement to cover ordinary trade and start trading directly in each other's currencies. Local cooperation grows vigorously. The cooperation and planning program for northeast China and Russia's Far East and Eastern Siberia Area kicked off and a number of cross-border infrastructure and development cooperation projects are being implemented actively. The bilateral trade and economic cooperation stands at a new historical point and faces unprecedented development opportunities. The two sides should seize the opportunities to improve trade structure, change growth pattern, step up investment, economic and technological cooperation, expand technological and innovative cooperation, deepen cooperation at the border and local levels, focus on key cooperation projects, cultivate new growth points and make more contributions to their own economic development and modernization.

Gu Jun introduced China-Russia energy cooperation. She said that the cooperation enjoys a good momentum in recent years. First, the bilateral energy cooperation has expanded from traditional oil and gas to oil and gas, electricity, coal, nuclear energy, energy efficiency and renewable energies; second, the cooperation has expanded from traditional trade to various forms including trade, exploration and development, pipeline construction, project contracting and joint ventures. The innovative cooperation model of energy plus financing has achieved positive results and generated demonstrative effect. Third, there are more cooperation results coming. The China-Russia crude oil pipeline will be completed and put into operation this year, the China-Russia joint venture Tianjin Refinery with an annual capacity of 13 million tons will start construction and the governments and businesses of both countries have signed 10 cooperation agreements. To deepen and promote China-Russia energy cooperation is one of the major topics of the meeting between the two prime ministers. China will work with Russia, in the principle of mutual benefit and complementing each other with advantages, to try to start the construction of natural gas pipeline as soon as possible, build the integration projects of coal mines, railways and ports, strengthen cooperation on electricity trade and grid upgrading and push forward nuclear energy cooperation in an all-round manner.

II. Official visit to Tajikistan

Cheng said Tajikistan is a friendly neighbor of China. The bilateral relations have been developing healthily and stably since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1992. They keep close high-level exchanges and enjoy deep political mutual trust. With the care and support of leaders of both sides, China-Tajikistan good-neighborly friendship and cooperation have entered into a new stage of comprehensive and rapid development. The bilateral cooperation on trade, economy, transport, telecommunication, electricity and infrastructure construction grows fruitfully. They support each other on major issues of common concern, work with each other closely within the multilateral frameworks of the UN and the SCO, effectively maintain their common interest and contribute positively to regional peace, stability and development.

He said leaders of the two countries will exchange opinions on China-Tajikistan relations, the mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation and the international and regional issues of common concern during the visit. The two sides swill sign a political document on the results of the visit and document on the bilateral trade and economic cooperation.

Sun mainly talked about China-Tajikistan trade and economic cooperation. The cooperation has grown rapidly and stably over the years. The bilateral trade volume has increased from US$10.76 million in 2001 to US$1.5 billion in 2008, growing nearly by 140 folds. It reached US$1.4 billion in 2009. China has become the second largest trade partner of Tajikistan. The bilateral trade volume grew by 2.5% from January to October this year compared with the same period of last year. The bilateral economic and technological cooperation moves forward steadily. The large projects implemented by Chinese enterprises in Tajikistan not only help stimulate Tajikistan's economic development but also add strength to the bilateral trade and economic cooperation.

III. Attending the 9th prime ministers' meeting of the SCO member countries

Cheng pointed out the SCO has operated well since last year's prime ministers' meeting in Beijing. It has achieved fruitful results of maintaining regional security and stability, handling the international financial crisis and deepening pragmatic cooperation among its members. The international status and influence of the SCO keep rising. The success of the Tashkent summit in June this year injected strong vigor into the SCO's development. The international situation is undergoing complicated and profound changes. The "three forces", drag trafficking and cross-border crimes still threat the region seriously. The complete recovery of world economy remains uncertain and the deep impact of the international financial crisis has not ended completely. Faced with new circumstances, members have realized deeply that only by solidarity can they effectively protect the interest of the SCO and their own.

Sun introduced the SCO's regional economic cooperation which he said is a major part of the SCO's cooperation and one of the key topics of the Dushanbe meeting. All the members have been committed to promoting stable development of regional economy and maintained close trade and economic relations since the outbreak of financial crisis. China's trade volume with other SCO members grew by 37.4% to US$67.9 billion from January to October this year. The economic cooperation among members is fruitful. The investment and financing cooperation and exchanges between the business and financial sectors continue growing. Such close economic cooperation is very important to maintaining the sustainable growth of regional economy and has contributed actively to the international efforts of dragging the global economy out of crisis and realizing stable recovery.

Cheng said the prime ministers' meeting of the SCO will mainly discuss how members should implement the consensus of the SCO Summit and continue the cooperation on security, economy and culture against the current international and regional situations. According to the customs, a small meeting of the prime ministers of SCO members, a large meeting with all the participants, document signing ceremonies and joint press conferences will be held during the meeting. The prime ministers will release a joint communiqué after the meeting. Premier Wen, in his speech, will systematically and comprehensively elaborate China's propositions, raise suggestions on the next stage of development and specific cooperation of the SCO, review with other national leaders the SCO's cooperation over the past year, deeply analyze the current international and regional situations, implement the consensus of the Tashkent summit and plan the SCO's next stage of work. He will also hold bilateral meetings with relevant national leaders.

He indicated the meeting is expected to achieve the following results based on the ongoing discussions. First, exchange in-depth opinions on implementing the common anti-crisis measures, deepening post-crisis regional economic cooperation and promoting regional economic growth and develop action plans; second, reach new consensus on accelerating trade and investment facilitation and the implementation of the plan on measures of multilateral trade and economic cooperation program and agree on regional economic cooperation projects; third, identify the future major tasks of members in terms of emergency relief, culture and health; fourth, make decisions to strengthen the SCO's internal construction.

With the joint efforts of all parties concerned, Premier Wen's visit and participation in the meetings will achieve full success and drive the long-term healthy and stable development of China-Russia strategic partnership, deepen China-Tajikistan good-neighborly friendship and pragmatic cooperation and promote the development of the SCO and regional prosperity, Cheng pointed out finally.

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