Joint News Conference with President Hu Jintao of China 2003-05-27 00:03:16 The Kremlin, Moscow President Hu Jintao: Esteemed friends, First and foremost, I would wish to express my profound gratitude to the mass media for the tremendous contribution you have made to the cause of strengthening the Sino-Russian friendship and mutual understanding throughout many years. I am here on a state visit at the invitation of President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. We have just held with President Putin very good talks in a warm and friendly atmosphere. The sides exchanged opinions on matters of bilateral relations as well as modern important international and regional questions of mutual interest. We have reached a broad unity of opinions. Today we expressed with President Putin a common readiness to accept the baton relayed from previous generations and to carry it into the future. Building on the results already achieved, we are prepared to continuously deepen the goodneighborliness and friendship between the two countries, to steadily broaden the mutually advantageous cooperation in different fields, to make common efforts to open new horizons, new prospects for expanding the Sino-Russian relations, partnership and strategic interaction. I invite President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin to make a regular visit to China at a time of convenience to him next year. And although this current visit of mine is not yet over, I already feel that this trip has been quite successful and has already brought very important results. President Vladimir Putin: First and foremost, I want to thank President Hu Jintao and all his colleagues for their having accepted our proposals and come to Russia on a state official visit. We highly appreciate the circumstance that Mr. President found it possible to make his first foreign official visit precisely to our country. This underlines the fact that the new Chinese leadership attaches special significance to the Russian-Chinese relations. I must say that the talks held were very substantive, productive and useful. We have analyzed how the Treaty on Strategic Partnership, Cooperation and Friendship between Russia and China, signed two years ago, is working in life, and in realities. We talked in detail about cooperation in the trade and economic sphere, in the sphere of military-technical cooperation, and in humanitarian fields. The economic relations between the two states are developing as rapidly as they never did before. The political interaction, including collaboration on the international arena, is at a very high level. The positions of Russia and China on the key issues of modernity are very close or coincide. In discussing questions of economic interaction, it was very pleasant for me to note that President Hu Jintao knows some projects, individual areas of our interaction literally in detail. On some of the projects, his knowledge and the depth of understanding an issue even somewhat surprised me. He said that he is an engineer by his education. One could see that the leadership of the People's Republic of China is indeed in practical terms taking a very serious attitude to interacting with Russia. It was very pleasant for me to note that Mr. President agreed to take part in the celebrations of the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg, where he will hold another series of bilateral meetings and contacts with world leaders. All this is creating a very good atmosphere of development of the Russian-Chinese relations. I am positive that they have very good prospects. Thank you for your attention. QUESTION by Renmin Ribao correspondent: Both China and Russia regard cooperation in the energy sphere as a historical thrust of interaction. What measures does the Russian side intend to take to build up cooperation in this sector? President Vladimir Putin: I must say that cooperation in the field of energy is one of the very important but not the only field. Regarding the energy sector, there are several areas of our interaction. First and foremost, it is well known that in regions of Siberia, in Eastern Siberia in particular, Russia has well explored and not fully tapped reserves of energy raw materials. And the growing, energetically developing economy of China is experiencing a certain shortage of energy. And of course, we can in a natural way complement each other and help each other. Last year we supplied 3 million tons of oil to China. We intend to increase the supplies. An opportunity is being examined to build oil and gas pipelines from the territory of Russia into the People's Republic of China. The question is how, in what way these routes will develop. This is a question to be answered by specialists. But at any rate I wish to point out Russia's interest in getting to the Chinese market. We intend to facilitate implementing these projects. In addition, we have good perspectives in the area of nuclear energy. We have a positive experience of cooperation in implementing the project related to the Tanwan atomic power plant. We hope to continue working together with our Chinese partners in this sphere. We have good experience of working in the field of hydropower and in the area of generation of heat and electrical power in thermal electrical stations. We are prepared not only for supplies of equipment but also for cooperating with Chinese enterprises. This is the list of our possibilities and plans, which is far from being complete. QUESTION by Interfax correspondent: Question to the PRC President. Why did you decide to make your first state visit to Russia? And the second question — to the two leaders. Russia and China decided to bring their trade up to 20 billion dollars. To what extent is this realistic and within what deadlines? President Hu Jintao: Russia is a great country and China's largest neighbor. At the same time it is a major power with world authority and immense world influence. From the start of the 90s of the last century, through our common efforts, the Sino-Russian relations gained development in a healthy and successful direction. The successful development of the Chinese-Russian relations is not only bringing real benefit to the peoples of both countries but is making its major contribution to the cause of safeguarding peace, stability, and contributing to the development and prosperity in the region and in the world at large. The leadership of China attaches immense importance to building up the Chinese-Russian relations. We believe that it is necessary to continue putting the Sino-Russian relations in a priority place in our foreign policy. It is precisely based on the importance and significance that I attach to our relations, that I — with great expectations for their further development — have chosen Russia as the first destination of my first foreign trip after being appointed to the post of the PRC President. I very much hope that this visit will serve further strengthening of the Sino-Russian interaction and partnership and opening up new perspectives for intensifying our cooperation. Concerning the trade and economic relations between our countries. Indeed, in the 90s of last century the leaders of our countries together set the aims of taking out trade to the level of 20 billion dollars. And in 10 years, with our reciprocal efforts, the trade turnover increased from 6 billion to 12 billion dollars, in other words to two times. It is especially important that we accomplished this result against the backdrop of flare ups of financial crises in some regions of the world, against the backdrop of a sluggish development of world economy. That is why such result did not come easy to us. We are glad to have accomplishments in developing the trade and economic cooperation. At the same time, at talks with President Putin we said we could not be satisfied with the current status of our cooperation because we see potential opportunities that we have so far been unable to fully utilize. The Chinese and Russian economies are at a stage of rapid growth. Both countries have a big population, possess rich natural resources, an immense market and big market needs. Based on cooperation of many years, we have accumulated a certain experience of business interaction. But even more important is the circumstance that our favorable political relations have created good conditions and situation for organizing entrepreneurial cooperation. I am profoundly convinced that thanks to our common efforts in the near future we are bound to accomplish the objective — we will take our trade turnover to the level of 20 billion dollars. President Vladimir Putin: I practically have nothing to add. It can only be said that these almost 12 billion dollars are the volume of trade that gets registered. According to our estimates, the volume amounted to about 11.8 billion. But this is not yet all. There is also the unregistered trade and, according to different sources, it constitutes roughly 10 billion dollars. This is in addition to 12. As regards the registered trade, the rates of its growth, as President Hu Jintao said, have been doubled in several years. Thus, if our trade and economic relations continue to develop at such a rate, we will within 4–5 years be able to reach the level of 20 billion dollars of registered trade. This will of course depend to a large extent on the rates of growth of the Chinese and Russian economies. QUESTION from a correspondent of the Central Chinese Television: Recent years have seen successful development of the Sino-Russian relations, that bring a wealth of results. President Hu Jintao, you have just had very productive talks with President Putin in a businesslike atmosphere. How do you intend to further keep the continuity and stability of Sino-Russian relations? President Hu Jintao: From the start of the 90s of last century the Sino-Russian relations have been developing in a healthy and successful direction. Especially after we asserted the relations of partnership and strategic interaction with Russia in 1996. The political trust between our countries is steadily deepening, and our mutually advantageous cooperation in different fields is continuously broadening. We are also setting in place a close cooperation on major issues touching upon our sovereignty, territorial integrity and national dignity. At the same time we are pursuing fruitful cooperation and coordinating efforts on the international arena. The development of the Sino-Russian relations is bringing real advantages to both states. At the talks with Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, he and myself have expressed satisfaction with the results obtained in developing our relations. Concerning your question as to how to further keep the continuity of the Russian-Chinese relations of partnership and strategic interaction, I would note the following points. Firstly, such interaction between China and Russia meets the best interests of our states and constitutes common aspirations of our peoples. It also corresponds to the mainstreams and currents of the epoch. The policy that meets the national interests has the support of the people and corresponds to the exigencies of the times, will and cannot change. Secondly, the leaders of China and Russia have repeatedly declared a readiness to take the baton relayed from our preceding generations and to carry the baton into the future, to further strengthen and develop interaction of the two countries. Thirdly, at these talks we expressed our commitment to the Russian-Chinese Treaty on Goodneighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation, as well as to the spirit of those major political documents that have been signed in recent years. We have also reaffirmed our readiness to continue to abide by the treaties and agreements we have concluded. All this represents the guarantee that will ensure the continuity and stability of development of the Sino-Russian relations, the guarantee that the tendency of developing these relations will not change merely because of personnel changes. Fourthly, we have agreed with President Putin, that considering the changes and development of the international situation, we will further strengthen our strategic interaction in all spheres. This indicates that we not only intend to strengthen the results attained, but that we cannot be satisfied with them. We will further continue to open new prospects of our relations. In a word, I am confident of the excellent perspective of the Russian-Chinese relations.