Russia and China discuss economy and world affairs

Economic co-operation and international issues were the main subjects on the agenda of the meeting between the Russian and Chinese Foreign Ministers. The talks were held in Moscow during Mr Yang Jiechi’s official visit to Russia.

The Chinese minister is travelling later to the country’s second largest city of St. Petersburg. And today he has already met with the Russian President and Russian FM Sergey Lavrov.

Meeting with the Russian leader, the Chinese official has underlined that the relationship of the two countries is developing, and spheres from which both Russia and China can benefit – trade and economy, culture, education – have potential.

On his part, Vladimir Putin stressed that the trade and economic relationship of the countries is very profitable.

“The relations between our countries have reached a high level of trust and partnership. It concerns cooperation in humanitarian field as well as our economic ties. The volume of trade between Russia and China has reached a record high of around $ US 30 BLN. And it continues to increase. We are planning a meeting with the Chinese leader within the framework of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in the near future,” said President Putin.

Both the officials told they are looking to develop co-operation and spoke of opening various cultural centres in Moscow and in Beijing.

As far as the political discussions are concerned, they focused on issues like North Korea and the Middle East.

Aside from the meeting with Mr Yang Jiechi, Vladimir Putin has also held talks with members of the Russian-U.S. working group. Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Russia's former Prime Minister Evgeny Primakov were present at the Moscow meeting. 

It was set up to discuss ways of developing Russian-U.S. relations, an area President Putin considers essential. 

“We cannot afford to let Russian-U.S. relations be affected by current political trends, connected, for instance, to the situation in the run-up to elections in both countries. If we are thinking about global security and the interests of our people, we should use a different approach. We should work toward ensuring that in both Russia and the United States the public, the majority of citizens, understand the importance of our relations. I hope very much that the results of your discussions will not find their resting place in the archives of foreign ministers, but will be used,” he said.

Meanwhile, relations between the countries have really gained a new momentum as it is the 'Year of China' in Russia.

'Made in China' – those three words ring a somewhat nostalgic bell in the heart of almost every Russian. For many decades, Chinese goods have been associated with low prices – and low quality.
But with the Chinese economy growing, and Russia-China ties strengthening, many are finding the balance between cost and quality a profitable one.
Anna Liliental got her Hafei Brio car as a gift from her boyfriend. Skeptical at first, now she says she cannot imagine driving anything else.
“To be perfectly honest, I wasn't too excited at first. I'd never heard of Chinese cars, and I was doubtful. But now I tell everyone it is a great car – especially for a girl. It is small, easy to handle, and its colour is unique. Not one move of this car goes unnoticed!” claims Anna Liliental, car owner.
Moreover, many Russian businesses are starting to take their production facilities East. Cost-effective and having high quality standards, to make goods in China is really paying off.
But plunging into Chinese culture, or at least attempts to do so, is by no means a novelty for Russians.
Chinese restaurants are popular, and while Moscow may not have its own London- or New-York-style Chinatown, there is still a lot to choose from.
‘Ancient China’ was one of the first restaurants to open in central Moscow – and it has been flourishing since its opening.
A traditionally opulent interior, ethnic music and interesting combination of flavours – it all serves to draw the customers in.
Evgeny Kotsky, the restaurant manager, says even though people are willing to experiment, there are a number of dishes that are permanent chart-toppers.
“The Beijing duck and the fried carp are always popular, and also the sweet and sour pork with fruit. It is such an unusual combination, which is why I think Russian people like Chinese food, in the first place. To us, it is exotic – but very tasty,” said Evgeny Kotsky, Ancient China manager.
The 'Year of China' in Russia will be over at the end of 2007.
But the era of Chinese culture and its popularity amongst Russian citizens  undoubtedly will be not.