Visit keeps momentum going

Updated: 2014-02-10 00:02

By WU JIAO in Sochi, Russia and ZHANG YUNBI in Beijing (China Daily)

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Beijing and Moscow vow to support each other on core interests

Visit keeps momentum going

President Xi Jinping is interviewed on Rossiya TV in Russia on Friday. His visit mapped out a strategy for the Sino-Russian relationship this year. [Photo/Xinhua]

President Xi Jinping said Beijing's relationship with Moscow will maintain its excellent momentum and his trip to Russia "marks a good start" to diplomatic relations in the new year.

Xi returned to Beijing on Saturday night after a three-day visit that included attending Friday's opening ceremony of the 22nd Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

"I am very satisfied with what has been achieved in the Sino-Russian relationship," Xi said in an interview with Rossiya TV, which aired on Saturday. Recalling his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, Xi said they agreed to "unswervingly support each other on issues concerning the core interests of either side ".

The visit mapped out a strategy for the relationship this year, and the combination of diplomacy and sports is "an innovative move in Chinese diplomacy", Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.

During the interview, Xi also gave an update on China's reform and opening-up, and he even talked about his hobbies, such as reading and watching sports.

Xi's trip once again "underscored the special importance of major powers and neighboring countries in China's diplomacy", Wang added.

Aldo Ferrari, director of the Caucasus and Central Asia Program at Milan-based Institute for International Political Studies, said, "Xi's presence at Sochi should be especially valued considering some evident absences."

Several heads of Western states were not there.

Sun Zhuangzhi, an expert on Russian and Central Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Xi's attendance at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games "has sent a clear message dispelling rumors about a so-called growing rift between the two rising economies".

When evaluating the global role of the relationship, Xi said the two neighbors have helped "safeguard international justice, stability and peace".

Shannon Tiezz, an associate editor at Tokyo-based magazine The Diplomat, said in an online article that China and Russia have been "more closely aligning their voices" for the past few years, particularly in the United Nations Security Council.

On Thursday, Xi and Putin jointly held a video talk with naval commanders aboard their countries' warships in the Mediterranean Sea escorting shipments of Syrian chemical weapons.

Putin said Russia and China are active champions for a political settlement of the Syrian crisis.

Tiezz said "both China and Russia see the value in standing together to block unwelcome proposals by the US-led block of Western nations".

Li Jianmin, a researcher of Russian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said so far "there has been no issue that is not fit to be put on the table for a frank discussion between Beijing and Moscow".

By "synchronizing their watches", the constant diplomacy between the two leaders is creating a new driving force in the relationship, Li said.

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