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Thursday, June 23, 2016, 15:08

Russia and China are 'close allies'

By Xinhua

Russia and China are 'close allies'
Russian President Vladimir Putin (front left) and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands during a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Antalya, on Nov 15, 2015. (AFP PHOTO / RIA NOVOSTI / MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV)

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia - Mutual trust between Russia and China has reached an unprecedented level and laid a solid foundation for bilateral cooperation, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Xinhua.

"We see each other as close allies, so of course we always listen to each other, by this I mean we keep in mind each other's interests," he said in an hour-long exclusive interview with Xinhua President Cai Mingzhao ahead of his Saturday state visit to China.

Russia and China are "close allies" with their ties running at a very high level and bilateral cooperation expanding steadily, Putin told Xinhua.

Although Russia and China cannot always reach consensus on difficult issues quickly, they can make them – however difficult they are – serve the common purpose of promoting bilateral cooperation, so they are always able to find solutions, added the Russian president.

Putin added coordination between Russia and China on the global stage in itself is a stabilizing factor in international affairs.

Speaking of the current decline in bilateral trade value, Putin said it is merely a temporary downtick resulting from the current market prices of certain commodities and differences in exchange rates against the backdrop of global economic woes.

He also said the smoothly running Moscow-Kazan high-speed railway project is probably just the beginning of massive cooperation between Russia and China on infrastructure construction.

E stablishing EEU-China FTA

During the interview, Putin proposed that the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and China set up a free trade area open to other interested countries.

All members of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) agree to beef up cooperation with China within the framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative proposed by President Xi, Putin added.

The Silk Road Economic Belt is a "very well-timed and appealing" initiative that has "great potential," Putin said, noting that the fundamental path of world economic development and EEU-China cooperation is to promote openness.

In a recent EEU meeting in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, all the five members -- Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia -- expressed support for carrying out cooperation with China within the Belt framework, Putin recalled.

Meanwhile, with more and more countries in the region interested in joining the ranks, "we shall try to avoid establishing a closed economic and trade bloc," he added.

SCO an ' attractive organization'

Speaking of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Putin said it has become a platform for its members to carry out diverse cooperation and also a popular, attractive and authoritative international institution.

The SCO was originally set up with rather low-key aims, which were to solve all kinds of border cooperation problems both difficult and easy,

Now the mechanism has been used to settle other problems and evolved into a platform for its six members to carry out cooperation in multiple areas, including political affairs as well as infrastructure construction, Putin added, noting that security and drugs have also been covered.

"The SCO has become a popular and attractive organization in the region. Many countries around the world have expressed willingness to join it," he said.

At this year's summit in Tashkent, Putin added, the SCO will formally implement the decision made last year at the Ufa summit on granting membership to India and Pakistan, and also discuss the participation of other countries in the SCO mechanism.

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