Putin says Russia-China ties enter new stage

Vladimir PutinSt. Petersburg, May 25 - Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday that his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this week in Shanghai marked that Russia-China relations have entered a new stage.

Putin made the comment during his meeting with representatives of world leading news agencies at the 18th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Xinhua reported.

Putin also said that the consensus reached and agreements signed in Shanghai demonstrated a big step forward for the relations between Russia and China.

The gas deal inked Wednesday in Shanghai was historic and significant to both countries, Putin said.

For Russia, it is an important opportunity to enter the largest market in the Asia-Pacific, while more natural gas use in China will help the country improve its energy mix and ecological environment in its large cities, he said.

Putin expressed the hope that Russia and China will continue to strengthen cooperation in nuclear energy, aviation, outer space exploration, medical care and public health, finance, and agriculture.

The two countries have started local currency settlement in bilateral trade and will strengthen cooperation in this respect, the Russian president added.

Putin was in Shanghai this week for a state visit and for a summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia.

China and Russia Wednesday signed a long-awaited gas deal in Shanghai, ending a decade of natural gas supply talks between the two neighbours.

Putin said that sanctions imposed on Russia over the Ukraine issue are counterproductive and will lead the Russian, European and global economy to turbulence that is in no one's interests.

The ongoing St. Petersburg International Economic Forum shows the willingness of many foreign companies to invest in Russia, said Putin. Citizens in many European countries do not support sanctions against Russia, and policies should be based on people's will, he added.

Russia hopes to have fair dialogues on an equal footing with Western countries so as to solve problems in a peaceful way and to have cooperation, he said.(IANS)