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Putin says Russia-China relations at highest-ever level

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting with chief executives of foreign companies via video conference at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 4, 2021. (MIKHAIL METZEL/SPUTNIK/KREMLIN POOL PHOTO VIA AP)

BEIJING – Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia-China relations have reached an unprecedentedly high level and the two sides have extensive shared interests.

Russia is willing to deepen cooperation with China in more areas, Putin said via video link when he took a question from He Ping, president and editor-in-chief of Xinhua News Agency, on China-Russia relations, in a meeting with heads of major international news agencies, held in St. Petersburg on Friday local time.

China and Russia are expected to boost bilateral trade to US$200 billion by 2024, said  Russian President Vladimir Putin

The media event was organized by Russia's TASS news agency on the sidelines of the 2021 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

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Putin recalled his close interactions with Chinese President Xi Jinping over the past few years, and said they recently witnessed the launch of four nuclear power units of a bilateral nuclear energy cooperation project, a very important part of high-tech cooperation between the two countries.

Russia and China have extensive shared interests, which is an important foundation of deepened bilateral cooperation, Putin said.

Stressing the importance of economic cooperation, Putin said Russia and China managed to keep bilateral trade at levels above US$100 billion for several years in a row, particularly in 2020 despite the impacts brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Putin said Russia stands ready to work with China to further synergize the Eurasian Economic Union with the Belt and Road Initiative

Putin said the two sides are expected to boost bilateral trade to US$200 billion by 2024.

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Russia and China are also closely cooperating in a variety of fields such as aircraft manufacturing, lunar research, energy, environmental protection, and people-to-people exchanges, Putin said, adding that Russia stands ready to work with China to further synergize the Eurasian Economic Union with the Belt and Road Initiative.

Putin said Russia and China will undoubtedly strengthen their coordination and collaboration in the international community and safeguard common interests, noting that this Russia-China strategic coordination is certainly conducive to international strategic stability.

At Friday's media event, Putin also answered questions from other heads of news agencies, on the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tokyo Olympic Games, global and regional issues, and Russia's relations with other countries.

Putin said issues related to COVID-19 should not be politicized, and humanitarianism should be placed center and front in coping with the pandemic, whose impacts can only be overcome by concerted efforts.