Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin have met prior to the official opening of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Qingdao to sign a series of bilateral agreements, while overseeing a number of further agreements signed between representatives of both the private and public sectors from the neighbouring superpowers.
At a press conference held subsequent to the signing ceremony, President Xi praised the ever expanding levels of bilateral trade between China and Russia which this year hit an all time high. Xi noted that the importance of trade between the two countries is significant beyond its sheer volume due to the strategically important goods exchanged between China and Russia including energy supplies, energy extraction hardware, new environmentally friendly technology, space exploration technology, aviation equipment, terrestrial transport technology and other heavy machinery. Xi also stressed the importance of China and Russia working ever closer together as both nations are permanent members of the UN Security Council and therefore must continue to coordinate at ever higher levels in order to establish protocols for peace at the highest levels of multiple international institutions.
Xi also spoke of the increased number of visits from Chinese to Russia and also of Russians to China. Visits include not only business visits but an ever growing number of students who seek to expand their educational horizons across the border. Xi further stated that many of his countrymen look forward to attending the Football World Cup which begins next week throughout major Russian cities including Moscow and that Xi will look forward to welcoming Russian visitors to China for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing and other major cultural events.
President Putin likewise praised the ever more intensified trading relations between the two countries and in particular spoke of the importance of this years ratification of a China-Eurasian Economic Union free trading agreement that will come into effect in 2019. Putin stated that the penultimate goal in terms of economic relations between the two countries is integrating and harmonising the One Belt–One Road initiative with the Eurasian Economic Union in order to create and expand a dynamic free trading zone throughout the wider east Asian and Eurasian space whose potential can unleash productivity throughout the region.
Putin also praised joint efforts for peace in the world and affirmed that on the major issues of security, China and Russia stand united. This is particularly true regarding the Korean peace process where China and Russia have both worked in a bold yet dignified capacity to help both Korean states reach an internal rapprochement while both superpowers also seek to address the security concerns of both Pyongyang and Seoul with the aim of the long-term de-militarisation of the Korean peninsula which shares a border with both China and Russia.
A full video of the signing ceremony and the remarks from Presidents Putin and Xi can be viewed below
Later in the day, Presidents Xi and Putin joined other ministers of state from both countries to watch a friendly hockey match between the Chinese and Russian national teams.