At the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will pay an official visit to China on October 11-12, 2011, to further consolidate bilateral ties, and in particular, to ratchet up "pragmatic cooperation" with China, some analysts noted. During his visit in Beijing, Putin will participate in the 16th regular meeting between the two governments.
Leading a 160-member delegation including top business leaders, Putin will kick start his first trip abroad Tuesday after announcing his planned return to the Kremlin in 2012.
He and Wen will probably talk with reporters after meeting and officiating at the signing of bilateral agreements. A meeting has also been scheduled between Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Hu Jintao.
In the mean time, both parties plan to discuss a wide range of topics on economic, scientific-technical and humanitarian cooperation issues. Special attention will be paid to improving the structure of bilateral trade, investment cooperation, high-tech cooperation and long-term energy projects. The leaders will also exchange views on current issues in international and regional agenda.
Still, some Western media agree that Putin's Beijing visit is somewhat symbolic, in that it is his debut visit abroad following his announcement to return to presidency. Chinese experts, however, hold different views on the timing set for the visit.
"This is just a coincidence," noted Jiang Yi, expert on Russian Studies at China's Academy of Social Sciences, "The upcoming PM-level meeting is still concentrated on pragmatic cooperation between the two countries, and is part of the regular meetings decided by both."
Over the past decade and more, China-Russia relationship has developed into a relatively mature stage, which will not be impacted or changed by the shift of leaderships. Moreover, Russia’s China policy has more or less remained intact all these years, and bilateral ties have seen a steady and sustained development, even if rosy and bumpy alternatively.
On the other hand, Western reaction to the so-called "Return of the King", as described by the Western media, has hardly been ecstatic, as they believe Putin's world view could be anti-Western. The Obama administration put out a bland statement confirming that its "reset" with the Kremlin will go on. Privately, however, the White House will certainly not be delighted at the prospect of dealing with prickly "President Putin" again.
But to China, Putin's return to the Kremlin will not affect Sino-Russian ties, as both countries are facing a crucial period for national rejuvenation and re-emergence in the second decade of the 21st century. Hence, both will underscore national development strategies.
Therefore, consolidating the good-neighborly friendship and promoting strategic cooperation are the common aspiration of the two countries. China and Russia can achieve their revitalization and rise only through their complementary economies and development based on common strategies.
In the future, China and Russia will vigorously promote the concept of lasting peace and friendship through overall revitalization of the two countries and well-being of the peoples, as well as pragmatic policies by both sides.