Russia, China approve business initiatives worth $50bn during Putin visit

A Russian-Chinese commission on investment cooperation has selected nearly 60 business initiatives to be put in the works, Russia's President Vladimir Putin announced on Saturday during an official visit to Beijing.

"Fifty-eight various business initiatives with the total volume of investments being $50 billion, have been selected," Putin told journalists in the Chinese capital. Twelve of the projects are already being implemented, he added.

Putin is accompanied by a number of top officials and companies' heads on the trip. The head of the Kremlin Administration Sergey Ivanov, five deputy prime-ministers and several ministers, as well as the heads of Rosneft and Gazprom oil and gas companies, all went to China. Some 50 documents were expected to be signed during the visit, with Putin meeting not only President Xi Jinping, but also other top Chinese officials.

A number of energy deals have been secured between the two nations, including agreements on selling of stakes in several Russian projects to Chinese companies. Russia's top oil producer, Rosneft agreed with China National Chemical Corporation (ChemChina) that the Chinese firm would take a 40 percent stake in Rosneft's planned petrochemical complex in Russia's Far East.

An oil supply contract, under which Russia could deliver up to 2.4 million ton of crude oil to ChemChina in a year's time, has also been agreed upon.

An intergovernmental agreement on a large aviation project has also been reached. The sides have agreed to work on a new wide-body long-range aircraft, which could carry up to 300 passengers. The new plane in the works is seen as a potential rival to Airbus and Boeing, to become part not only of Russian and Chinese, but also other nations' fleets.

Saying that Moscow and Beijing have been doing "very meaningful work," and can boast a "very profound discussion that ends with a result," the Russian president stressed that the two nations always manage to find "a balance of interests."

This time, the two states have agreed to expand mutual payments in national currencies, to decrease dependency on external factors.

While Russia-China bilateral relations are mostly based on economic cooperation, the two nations still successfully build their partnership in other spheres, including international affairs, Putin said.

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Putin stressed that such joint efforts "contribute to the stability of world affairs," where Russian and Chinese views "are either very similar or coincide." Besides the United Nations, Putin noted the importance of cooperation within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa association). The SCO, Putin said, remains an "essential element" that ensures stability and security in the region, as he expressed hope that more nations would join the bloc.

The two leaders have also discussed the G20 summit, which China will be hosting this year in September. While Xi has officially invited Putin to the summit, Russia's leader promised his counterpart support and possible assistance in hosting the summit.

Putin arrived in Beijing the day after he met with Xi on the sidelines of SCO summit in Uzbekistan. Putin's last official visit to Beijing was less than a year ago, in September. Last year, the two presidents met as many as five times. Since 2013, they’ve had some 15 meetings.

Regular interactions between Moscow and Beijing strengthen "good-neighborly" relations and cooperation, Putin said. Addressing Xi as "dear friend," he said: "We meet very frequently and regularly... each of our meetings is profound in character. This is not just due to the formal event, the 15th anniversary of the Treaty of Friendship, good-neighborly relations and cooperation... It's [also] due to the demand from the Chinese and the Russian people to strengthen and develop our relations."