CHINESE PRESIDENT XI JINPING GOES TO RUSSIA – SEEKING STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP?

BBC News on March 22, 2013, reported on Chinese presidents first visit abroad. His first stop was Russia. Excerpts below:

Mr Xi is set to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, with the two likely to discuss energy and investment deals.

The president said the two countries were “most important strategic partners” who spoke a “common language”.

He will also visit Tanzania, South Africa and the Republic of Congo on his tour, which continues until 30 March.

The choice of Moscow as Mr Xi’s first destination is seen as symbolic, and a move from China to counter the US pivot to Asia, correspondents say.

Russia is one of the world’s biggest energy producers, and China is the world’s top energy consumer. Bilateral trade is booming, reaching a record $88bn (£58bn) last year.

Beijing and Moscow have held similar positions over a number…diplomatic issues, from Iran to Syria to North Korea, and some analysts suggest the bond is likely to strengthen.

At a press conference, Mr Xi called Russia China’s “friendly neighbour”, and said that the fact that he was visiting so soon after assuming presidency was “a testimony to the great importance China places on its relations with Russia.”

“China-Russia relations have entered a new phase in which the two countries provide major development opportunities to each other,” he said.

China is also Africa’s largest trading partner, surpassing the United States and its traditional European partners.

Comment: The two largest landpowers of Eurasia may well be seeking a strategic partnership directed at the United States. No doubt China is worried about the American Asia pivot. The United States has the naval military advantage in both the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean with the bases needed for control. Also the United States has a number of strategic partners to counter the Chinese policy of hegemony. These partners include Australia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines to mention a few of the more important.

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