United: Russia and China a new dimension
Speaking at an interview with the Chinese state television CCTV, Putin hailed the strengthening ties between Russia and China.
“We have brought the relations between the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China to a very high level – to the level that has not been reached before,“ Putin said. “And first of all we have reached a very high level of trust in the political sphere.”
The Russian prime minister added that this makes the Russia-China bilateral relations a very important factor in the international political arena.
“We have learned to move in consolidation while protecting our rightful interests,” Putin said.
The Russian PM went on to describe the success in economic cooperation between the two nations, mentioning the research and production spheres, as well as the humanitarian field.
Putin said that while the cooperation amounted to $55.9 billion in the best of pre-crisis years and in 2011 it will reach $70 billion or even $80 billion. He also expressed hope that the two countries would reach the $100 billion level by 2015 and the $200 billion level by 2020.
When asked if his journey had any special meaning for him, Putin said that the Russian-Chinese relationship was multisided, with energy cooperation just one side of many in the relations between the two countries.
“Our cooperation is multisided and it is getting even further diversified,” he pointed out. “I believe that hi-tech cooperation – not only in traditional fields and machine building, but also in aviation and aircraft building – should, of course, be our priority.”
Russia and China definitely have common national interests in this area, he added.
“In order to gain a rightful place on the global markets, we should join efforts in, let’s say, the creation of wide-body aircraft. We should unite our technological and financial abilities,” Putin said.
The Russian premier went on to mention other fields for cooperation, such as nanotechnology, IT, and medicine.
As to energy, there are various offers from both sides, and not just the planned gas supplies to China, Putin said. This includes joint development and production of hydrocarbons in, for example, Russia’s Udmurt Republic. It could also include possible future work on the “Sakhalin-3” project in the Far East and “Magadan-1” located on the shelf under the Sea of Okhotsk.
Putin also touched upon the long-discussed issue of natural gas supplies to China via eastern and western routes, which “our Chinese friends see as a priority of the first stage,” he noted.
The subject of cost was naturally raised. “Pricing is certainly an essential issue here,” Putin observed, recalling that earlier in the day, during his meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao, he said that “Those who sell want to sell at a higher price, and those who buy want to buy cheaper”.
Yet he was quick to point out that trade is job of managers of business entities, rather than an issue to be decided on the political level.“And I think that they will find a fair solution to this question, which would be mutually beneficial for both China and Russia,” Putin concluded.
When a reporter asked the Russian PM on how he saw the Russia-China cooperation in the building of the new world order or the reform of the existing international economic system, Putin said that the creation of the new world order and the reform of the existing one were very different things. He stressed that joining forces to promote the reform of the existing structures was of primary importance and first of all the global financial structures such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Putin said that that all BRICS countries should play a major role in these reforms as the economies of the BRICS countries are gaining more importance.
Putin stressed that the international society must pay more attention to the real sector and limit the speculations and in this regard China and Russia and other BRICS nations san play a positive role in the stabilization of the global economy.
Speaking of the current debt crisis in Europe, Putin said that it was possible to overcome it, but this needed political courage from the leaders of the European countries. But in the final analysis, overcoming this grave challenge would benefit all of Europe, he noted.
Turning to the situation with the US economy, Putin said that his views on the subject were not unique, but were shared by European experts, government ministers and heads of financial structures. He said that the US authorities were right to buy government bonds and thus simply print money, but any financial policy must have its limits.
The Russian PM noted that the US financial authorities were doing the exact thing they advised against when it came to Russia and other countries.
Putin denied ever calling the United States “a parasite of the World economy,” but insisted that the US was benefiting from the monopoly created by the dollar being the international reserve currency. The Russian Prime Minister said that such situation was both good and bad for the United States, as well as for other nations alike. He went on to suggest searching for multilateral solutions for the existing problems.
“There is nothing to cheer here, we simply need to get together – with our European and American colleagues and the BRICS countries and think within the G20 framework how to get out of this situation together. We need to look for common coordinated solutions,” Putin said.
“In the condition of globalization, we are all in one boat to a certain extent and you need to be careful not to start taking water on, to prevent the boat from capsizing,” he said.