BEIJING - Trade ties and greater energy cooperation will be a priority during Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to China, which started on Sunday, with more than 10 key agreements set to be signed.
Medvedev arrived in Northeast China's port city of Dalian, starting his second official visit since assuming the presidency in May 2008.
In recognition of the close ties between the two countries, Medvedev visited a memorial in Dalian commemorating Soviet soldiers who died fighting Japanese invaders in China.
"Friendship with China is Russia's strategic choice, it's a choice that was sealed by blood years ago," Medvedev told Russian and Chinese war veterans, who participated in China's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-1945).
"The friendship between the Russian and Chinese people, cemented by the military events, will be indestructible and do good for our future generations," he said.
According to the Russian Information Agency (RIA Novosti), Medvedev will sign more than 10 documents during his three-day visit. "Developing ties with China is one of Russia's foreign diplomacy priorities", the president told the People's Daily before his departure. The relationship with China "has never been characterized with such a high level of trust" like now, he said.
"The most serious attention will be paid to developing trade and economic ties, especially cooperation in the sphere of energy," Medvedev said.
He said he planned to have "a meaningful discussion" in other areas such as scientific-technological cooperation and the environment as well as expanding regional contacts.
An oil pipeline agreement between the China National Petroleum Corporation and Russia's Rosneft Oil will be signed as will a draft agreement between Atomstroyexport JSC and CNNC-Jiangsu Nuclear Power Corporation on generator construction.
Cooperation between the two countries will expand to embrace sustainable development, electricity and other areas, RIA Novosti said.
Both countries also plan to continue promoting cultural exchanges, specifically by increasing the number of student visits.
Currently there are more than 18,000 Chinese students in Russia but only 9,000 Russian students in China. "I think these numbers will increase with our efforts," Medvedev said, according to RIA Novosti.
Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told Itar-Tass on Saturday that relations between the two countries have reached an unprecedented level and both consider the strategic partnership and cooperation "most important and most reliable".
Yang also said China and Russia share the same stance concerning the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue. "China and Russia believe that further promotion of the Six-Party Talks by dialogue meets the strategic interests of both countries," Itar-Tass said. Yang said the interaction and cooperation between China and Russia on the nuclear issue is an important component of their partnership.
Li Lifan, a researcher at the Institute of Eurasian Studies of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said that the Sino-Russian relationship has become more pragmatic. "Before, the two countries were only good on political terms, but now they also have closer economic ties."
Medvedev will later visit Beijing and Shanghai and meet top Chinese leaders including his counterpart Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.