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China-Russia ties cemented through homey but productive visit

Updated: Nov 9,2016 11:55 AM

Three years ago, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited Premier Li Keqiang’s hometown, Hefei, Anhui province, and now, Premier Li came to St. Petersburg, Russia, which is Medvedev’s hometown, for a visit.

This kind of “hometown diplomacy” has helped promote China-Russia bilateral ties.

Visiting State Hermitage Museum

Upon arriving in St Petersburg on Nov 6, Premier Li was invited by Medvedev to visit the State Hermitage Museum, which is a well-known art sanctuary, also one of the world’s largest and oldest museums.

Accompanied by Medvedev, the Premier took a closer look at classic works from various time periods. From time to time, he stopped to examine the works and exchanged thoughts with Medvedev.

When the Russian PM visited China last year, Premier Li also accompanied him on a visit to the National Museum of China. The Premier’s visit to St. Petersburg can help promote people-to-people exchanges of the two countries.

Paying tribute to martyrs amid snow

On Nov 7, Premier Li visited a cemetery in a suburb of St. Petersburg, where nearly 500,000 soldiers and citizens who fell in the Battle of Leningrad are buried.

Amid the cold wind and blustery snow, the Premier paid tribute to the martyrs. He carefully touched the ribbon on the wreath, lowering his head in silent tribute.

The military band then played the national songs of the two countries.

Consolidating pragmatic cooperation

At Constantine Palace, known as the Russian “Palace of Versailles”, Premier Li and the Russian PM talked with each other, attended a signing ceremony and met the press together. During the whole process, they could be seen frequently smiling at each other.

The meeting was highly efficient, with the two sides jointly releasing two statements — one on the peaceful use of nuclear power, and the other on the first joint results of China-Russia border inspections. Eleven cooperative agreements in fields such as trade, education and people-to-people exchanges were signed.

They proposed 28 detailed measures on building an open world economy, speeding up regional economic integration and promoting the continuous development of bilateral cooperation. And the two leaders also reached consensus on cooperation of people-to-people exchanges, regions and environmental protection.

Their tight schedule ran from 1 pm through the evening of Nov 7. At the end of it, it was already dark in the coastal city, when Medvedev saw off Premier Li from the gates of the palace. As heavy snow fluttered through the chilly gale, the two “old friends” bid goodbye to each other and agreed to see each other next year in Beijing.