SOCHI, Russia — Premier Li Keqiang called for closer economic and trade ties between China and Russia, saying the two countries will carry out more cooperation over key international issues.
He made the remarks in a written interview with Russia’s Interfax news agency ahead of the 16th meeting of the Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Heads of Government (Prime Ministers) in the coastal city of Sochi, to be held on Nov 30 and Dec 1.
Noting the gradual recovery of the global economy, Premier Li said that China and Russia face new opportunities to expand economic and trade cooperation.
With improvements in both volume and quality, the development of China-Russia economic and trade cooperation has scored stable progress this year, he said.
In the first three quarters, the trade turnover between China and Russia reached $61.4 billion with an increase of 22.4 percent compared to the same period last year, he said, adding that the volume of bilateral trade in 2017 is expected to exceed 80 billion dollars.
In particular, as China and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) have finished substantial negotiations on an economic and trade cooperation agreement, it will settle the institutional foundation for China’s economic and trade cooperation with Russia and other Eurasian countries, Premier Li said.
The EEU, which groups Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia, is an economic bloc aiming to optimize the flow of goods and services among its members.
“China is willing to work together with Russia to embody the advantage of the high-level political ties in more fruitful economic and trade cooperation, and to benefit the peoples of the two countries,” Premier Li told Interfax.
To this end, the Premier called for joint efforts from China and Russia to continuously enhance trade liberalization and investment facilitation, so as to create favorable conditions for the two countries’ businesses.
In addition, the two sides should strengthen the alignment of development strategies, deepen cooperation in financial industry, as well as expand cooperation platforms in all fields, he said.
When asked about the Russia-China strategic coordination in current international affairs, Premier Li said that the two countries share strong mutual support on issues related with each other’s core interests and major concerns.
The China-Russia ties will be able to withstand any hardship and the test of time and will not altered by any changing external condition, he said, noting that the ties serve as a fine example of building relations on the basis of dialogue and partnership instead of confrontation and alignment.
Facing the instabilities and uncertainties across the globe, the development of China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination is not only favorable for mutual prosperity, but also conducive to world peace, stability and prosperity, the Premier noted.
China is ready to make joint efforts with Russia in such fields as safeguarding the basic principles of international relations, supporting the development of multilateral mechanisms and promoting political settlement in the Korean Peninsula, Syria as well as Afghanistan, he added.
Before heading to Sochi, Premier Li met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin on the night of Nov 29. The two sides agreed to maintain the high-level development of bilateral ties and further strengthen all-round cooperation in the future.
On Nov 29, Premier Li wrapped up his four-day trip to Hungary with enhanced bilateral ties and China-Central and Eastern Europe cooperation.