Foreign Ministry Official Introduces Premier Wen Jiabao’s Upcoming Visit to Russia and Attendance of China-Russia Prime Ministers’ 13th Regular Meeting, Visit to Kazakhstan and Attendance of the 7th Prime Ministers’ Meeting of the SCO Member States
The Foreign Ministry held a briefing for the Chinese and foreign media on October 21, 2008. According to Vice Foreign Minister Li Hui, Premier Wen Jiabao will pay an official visit to Russia and hold the 13th regular meeting with his Russian counterpart and then visit Kazakhstan and attend the 7th prime ministers’ meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) members in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan from October 27 to 31. Deputy Director General of the Information Department Qin Gang hosted the briefing.
Li said that the upcoming visit of Premier Wen is a major diplomatic activity of the Chinese government to further deepen China’s good-neighborly friendship and cooperation with Eurasian countries, promote the in-depth development of the SCO and help build a harmonious Eurasia with lasting peace and common prosperity.
I. Visit to Russia and Holding the 13th Regular Meeting with Russian Prime Minister
Li noted that Russia is a key strategic partner of China. After 12 years of progress, China-Russia strategic partnership has developed a solid foundation of mutual trust, comprehensive cooperation mechanisms and rich strategic connotation, reached an unprecedented high level and maintained steady and healthy development. The partnership has realized stable transition and is growing rapidly since the beginning of this year. The two sides maintain frequent high-level exchanges and their heads of state have held three meetings, which has greatly pushed forward the bilateral relations and mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields under the new situations. Their mutual trust has been increased. The complete settlement of border issue has eliminated the political obstacles for bilateral cooperation. Russia offered full assistance to China’s disaster relief and invited kids from the disaster-hit areas to rehabilitate in the country, which has made the concept of long-lasting friendship between China and Russia more deeply rooted. The two countries extend firm support to each other on issues relating to their core interest, well demonstrating the high level and uniqueness of such a strategic partnership. They also enjoy rapid growth of economic and trade cooperation. The bilateral trade volume will soon exceed US$50 billion and cooperation in the fields of energy and military technology has made new progresses. China and Russia continue to deepen the strategic collaboration on the international arena. They have issued a joint statement on major international issues, coordinated and collaborated closely in international affairs and played a major role of safeguarding their common interest and maintaining world peace and stability.
With three sub-mechanisms including the prime ministers’ regular meeting committee, the cultural and educational cooperation committee and the energy negotiation representatives’ meeting, the China-Russia Prime Ministers' Regular Meeting is the highest-level consulting mechanism with a most comprehensive organizational structure and covering the widest range of areas for China’s foreign cooperation. It can be taken as a showcase mechanism of inter-governmental cooperation. The main purposes of the 13th prime ministers’ regular meeting and the meetings of the three sub-mechanisms are as follows. First, to comprehensively review the implementation of the outcome of the three meetings of heads of state of China and Russia this year and the 12th regular meeting of the two prime ministers, sincerely exchange in-depth opinions on issues of cooperation and seek win-win solutions so as to inject new vigor into the bilateral ties and pragmatic cooperation in all fields. Second, to identify the direction and priorities of bilateral pragmatic cooperation, cultural and educational cooperation and local cooperation on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of China-Russia diplomatic ties and the Year of Russian in China. Politically, the two sides will continue to follow the principles and spirit of China-Russia good-neighborly friendship and cooperation treaty, increase mutual trust and support. In the economic area, they will pursue the principle of mutual benefit, tap the potential of each other, complement each other with advantages, push for breakthroughs of pragmatic cooperation in key areas and consolidate the material foundation of bilateral ties. Guided by the principle of “friendship from generation to generation and common progress” of the Year of China in Russia and the Year of Russia in China, both countries will expand the friendly exchanges of their people, enhance mutual understanding and friendship and make the peaceful thought of long-lasting friendship deeply rooted in the heart of their people.
During the visit, Premier Wen will meet with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, leaders of Russian Duma and friendly personnel in Russia respectively and attend the opening ceremony of the third China-Russia Economic and Business Summit jointly with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Wen will exchange opinions with Russian leaders on how to implement the consensuses reached by the heads of state of the two countries, strengthen China-Russia strategic partnership, deepen the pragmatic cooperation in the fields of trade and economy, energy sources, nuclear energy, local level, cultural and education and exchange ideas on major international and regional issues. The two sides plan to sign a joint communiqué on the China-Russia Prime Ministers’ 13th Regular Meeting and a number of bilateral cooperation documents. He expressed confidence that with the joint efforts of both sides, the friendly and pragmatic visit of Premier Wen will achieve fruitful results and help increase the political mutual trust, deepen the pragmatic cooperation in all fields, promote the friendship of two peoples for generations to come and lift the bilateral strategic partnership between China and Russia to a new level.
II. Visit to Kazakhstan
Li noted that it is the first time for Premier Wen to visit Kazakhstan. The visit will be made 7 years after the last visit of Chinese premier to the country. It is of great significance to consolidating and deepening the traditional friendly relations, promoting the in-depth development of strategic partnership and expanding the pragmatic cooperation in various fields between China and Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan is an important country in central Asia and a friendly neighbor of China. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties, China-Kazakhstan relations have maintained healthy and stable development. The two countries enjoy fruitful cooperation in all fields, frequent high-level exchanges and ever increasing political mutual trust. They successfully solved the border issue left over from history, signed a number of key bilateral documents including the good-neighborly friendship and cooperation treaty and the 21st century cooperation strategy and set up the China-Kazakhstan cooperation committee to guide and coordinate the bilateral cooperation in various fields. The two countries extend firm support to each other on the issues of core interest concerning sovereignty and territorial integrity and have conducted fruitful cooperation within the multilateral frameworks of the UN, the SCO and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia, which has contributed greatly to maintaining peace, stability and development in the region and the world at large.
China and Kazakhstan have made remarkable progress of pragmatic cooperation in the economic and trade sector in recent years. China is the second largest trade partner of Kazakhstan, while Kazakhstan is the second biggest trade partner of China in the CIS region. The bilateral trade volume is growing dramatically on a yearly basis. It numbered nearly US$14 billion in 2007, up 66% over 2006 and reached US$11.7 billion from January to August this year and is expected to exceed US$15 billion by the end of 2008. The bilateral energy cooperation is fruitful. The first phase of China- Kazakhstan crude oil pipeline project has completed and started transmitting oil, and the second phase and the China-Kazakhstan natural gas pipeline project are well under way. Active efforts have been made to promote project cooperation in non-resource fields according to the China- Kazakhstan cooperation planning in non-resource fields and the plan of implementation measures, with the launch of such big projects as China and Kazakhstan Horgos International Border Cooperation Center, Pavlodar Electrolytic Manganese Plant and Moynak Hydropower Plant. In addition, the bilateral cooperation in the fields of transport, port, science and technology, culture and education keeps moving forward. The two countries comprehensively implement the bilateral cooperation agreement on fighting the “three forces” and have conducted effective cooperation in combating the “three forces” including the "East Turkistan" terrorists, which has offered strong guarantee for the safety of Beijing Olympic Games and contributed to maintaining peace and stability in the region.
During the visit, Premier Wen will hold meetings and talks with Kazak President Nursultan Abishevich Nazarbayev and Prime Minister Karim Masimov respectively to exchange opinions on the bilateral relations and the international and regional issues of common concern, especially on how to further promote the bilateral pragmatic cooperation in the field of economy and trade. The two sides will also sign a number of cooperation documents on economy and trade, energy, finance, power, agriculture and customs. Li Hui expressed confidence that the visit would boost the development of China- Kazakhstan strategic partnership.
III. Attending the 7th Prime Ministers’ Meeting of the SCO Members
Li pointed out that the SCO enjoys increasing cohesion after 7 years of development. With rising international and regional influence, the organization plays a big role of maintaining regional security and stability, promoting the common development of member states and building regional harmony. The SCO has kept the sound momentum of development since the prime ministers’ meeting last year, with rapid progress in the fields of economy, culture and education. The trade and investment facilitation process goes forward steadily, the consultations on the main accord of the International Road Transport Facilitation Agreement have completed and the Customs Energy Information Monitoring Protocol will be signed soon; the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan road project and the Tajikistan-Uzbekistan road project move forward steadily and a new batch of demonstration projects participated by and benefiting multiple parties will kick off; the cooperation on agriculture, science and technology is launched and that in the fields of education, culture, environmental protection and disaster relief has achieved fruitful outcome; the external exchanges of the SCO is very active. The pragmatic cooperation of the organization enjoys promising prospects.
The purpose and tasks of the prime ministers’ meeting are as follows: to continue to implement the treaty of SCO members on the long-term good-neighborly friendship and cooperation and the consensus reached at the Dushanbe summit in an all-round way, deepen the pragmatic cooperation, study how to jointly cope with challenges and build mutual benefit under the current international economic situations. Premier Wen’s attendance of the meeting is of great significance to pushing forward the SCO cooperation in all fields, consolidating and deepening China’s friendly relations with other member states and observer states of the SCO, realize the common development of SCO members and build a prosperous region with harmony and development.
According to practice, the SCO member states, observer states and the delegates of countries which have established relations with the SCO will attend the meeting. Parties concerned are confirming the attendance of their delegates right now. During the meeting, Premier Wen will attend small meetings jointly with his counterparts of other SCO members and large meetings with the prime ministers of other SCO member states, representatives of observer states and guests of the host country, participate in the document signing ceremony and meet with journalists. During the meeting, prime ministers of SCO members will comprehensively review the outcome of SCO cooperation in the fields of economy, culture and education since last year’s meeting, exchange in-depth views on implementing comprehensively the treaty of long-term good-neighborly friendship and cooperation of member states, the consensus of Dushanbe summit and pushing forward the pragmatic cooperation in all fields and make detailed planning for the action of the next stage. Premier Wen will raise new proposals on behalf of China on deepening the regional cooperation of the SCO. The prime ministers of the six countries will sign and issue a joint communiqué, approve the 2009 budget of the SCO and the amended plan on the implementation measures of SCO members states’ multilateral economic and trade cooperation outline and sign a number of resolutions on the construction and development of the SCO. In addition, the SCO member states will also sign a customs energy monitoring information exchange protocol.
The member states are working together closely to make final preparations for the meeting. We believe the upcoming meeting of the prime ministers will make a big success with the joint efforts of all the member states, said Li.
Li Hui then answered questions of the journalists.
As to how could the SCO members strengthen cooperation to cope with the international financial crisis, Li said that all the SCO members pay high attention to the financial crisis. Both China and Russia have taken a series of active measures. During the visit, Premier Wen will discuss with leaders of Russia and other SCO members measures on enhancing cooperation to tackle the international financial crisis. It is beneficial to maintaining financial stability of the members and will add strength to the efforts of the international community to handle the crisis.
On the question of China-Russia energy cooperation, Li noted that China and Russia are close to each other geologically and enjoy transport advantages. The bilateral energy cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit serves the fundamental interest of both sides. The leaders of China and Russia attach great importance to such cooperation which has grown steadily and made fruitful achievements. The meeting mechanism of energy negotiation representatives at the vice prime minister level between China and Russia, initiated by President Hu Jintao and President Medvedev, has been launched in July this year and held the first meeting. The second meeting will kick off soon. The two sides will exchange opinions extensively on energy cooperation. Li added that the ongoing Russia Pacific crude oil pipeline construction project is being accelerated. After completion, the project will facilitate the oil and gas cooperation between China and Russia. The bilateral cooperation in the field of civil nuclear energy also moves forward steadily, including the Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant, the phase-four Uranium enrichment and the fast mill reactor cooperation projects. He is confident that China-Russia strategic partnership will enjoy a more solid foundation as the bilateral energy cooperation grows steadily.