Question: What initial agreements on specific mechanisms of cooperation within the framework of the Shanghai Organisation have been reached with the member countries? What ways have been proposed to maintain this cooperation?
Vladimir Putin: Above all, of course, it is a mechanism of consultations: both high-level consultations and those at the level of experts. It has already been developed and the use of this mechanism will continue, but with regard to the fact that the organisation is becoming engaged in many fields, and will be concerned not only with the problems of regional security, but also with cooperation in the broadest meaning of the word. Other mechanisms are also appearing, of course. It is, above all, the joint work of various departments and ministries of all the member countries. And the Prime Ministers of the member countries of this organisation are to give a start to this process when they gather in Almaty this autumn. On the Chinese initiative, a meeting of Ministers of Culture will be held in China soon. It is in this direction that we will be moving.
In addition, as you know, there is the idea of creating some permanent bodies, both with the focus on security and on many-sided cooperation.
Question: What treaty are you going to sign with the President of the PRC during his visit to Moscow?
Vladimir Putin: As I've already said, we haven't had a treaty of the kind which is now being prepared between the People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation for twenty years now. It was exactly twenty years ago that the Treaty of Friendship between the former USSR and the PRC expired. Therefore the treaty we are planning to sign as part of the visit of the PRC President to Moscow this July, will, undoubtedly, be a basic treaty regulating the relations between our two states. The fundamental principles of our relations will be recorded there. I think that when this document is finally ready we will all learn about it. Now I can only say that it will be based on the same principles on which the United Nations is built, but with also deal with specific issues associated with the development of relations between China and the Russian Federation as partners and neighbours. We have great many mutual interests, as you know, and they must be reflected in this document. This is exactly what the experts are working on now.
As to your other questions, I can say that we discussed at length both economic issues and the problems of bilateral relations in other spheres. We also spoke about the coordination of our efforts on the international stage, primarily in Central Asia, and in Asia generally. We agreed to hold additional consultations between the Ministers of Foreign Affairs. The President of the PRC and I spoke about this in detail just now and gave appropriate instructions to the Ministers. You may have noticed that Igor Ivanov came up to me during the news conference and we agreed that they would soon proceed with the consultations on a number of specific issues.
I can add that, as you know, Russia has been pursuing and intends to continue pursuing a constructive, transparent, and positive policy towards all of its partners, including the United States. The People's Republic of China stands by the same principles. President Jiang Zhemin asked me to once again state this position of the People's Republic of China at the meeting with President Bush in Ljubljana, which I will do with pleasure. — I will report the details of this part of our talks to the President of the United States during our personal meeting.
Question: Did you and Jiang Zhemin speak in Russian?
Vladimir Putin: Yes, we did. He speaks Russian fluently, sings Russian songs and knows the lyrics better than many of us. It's a shame that we don't know them as well.
Question: Did you speak with Jiang Zhemin in Russian?
Vladimir Putin: Yes, we did. He speaks Russian fluently, sings songs in Russian and knows the words better than many of us — it's a shame that we don't know them as well.
Question: Which songs did the PRC President sing?
Vladimir Putin: This time he sang Chinese songs.
Question: The main document signed today is a convention on fighting terrorism and separatism. Does this mean that it remains the most important issue for the organisation? We have heard that President Nazarbayev spoke with great concern about Afghanistan and about the Islamic movement.
Vladimir Putin: I spoke about the new slogan of the Shanghai Economic Cooperation Organization: Security through Partnership. I personally and my counterparts would like to move the problem of security precisely into this sphere. We hope that by developing cooperation in the region across the board in the fields of culture, education, science, and economic interaction, we will create conditions that will have a beneficial effect on the problem of security. But, of course, we will attach equal significance to security issues as before. But I repeat once more, we believe that the qualitative change of our cooperation in all the above areas will create not only a good basis, but will also influence beneficially the preservation of peace and stability in the region.
I would like to return to the previous question about which songs the PRC President sang. I want to say that he sang Chinese songs at our meeting, played the piano and Chinese folk instruments, and he played very well.
Question: We thought you were dealing with serious matters there…
Vladimir Putin: You know, the most serious things are perhaps easier to tackle in such an atmosphere — relaxed and very confidential.