China and Russia will work together to push for an immediate cessation of violence in Syria and prevent tension in the war-torn country from escalating, leaders of the two countries said on Wednesday.
President Hu Jintao and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, made the commitment as they met in the Indian capital, New Delhi, for the annual BRICS summit on Wednesday and Thursday. The summit also includes leaders from Brazil, India and South Africa.
This is the first time the two heads of state had met since Russia's presidential election earlier this month.
The two leaders urged the Syrian government and every party involved to solve the crisis peacefully through political dialogue.
"China is ready to work together with Russia and the global community to play a constructive role in proper settlement of the Syria issue," Hu told Medvedev, who stressed that the two countries had always maintained close contact and had adopted a concerted stance on the issue.
During their one-hour meeting, the two leaders also urged the parties involved on the Korean Peninsula to remain calm and restrained, and to keep in contact for regional peace and stability.
The strategic partnership of China and Russia had proved its trustworthiness and effectiveness through the two countries' joint action and aligned stance on not agreeing to foreign intervention in the ongoing Syrian political power struggle, experts said.
They used their rights as standing members of the United Nations Security Council to veto the Western-backed draft resolutions on Syria, which might open ways for foreign intervention and regime change.
The partners agreed to, as Premier Wen Jiabao said, support mediation by the United Nations-Arab League envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, to lead to a fair and peaceful resolution.
Annan's six-point plan for ending the violence in Syria has received the endorsement of international communities and the UN, which are closely watching the mediation effort.
Apart from jointly driving forward the progress to address hot-spot world and regional issues, the two countries also cooperate closely on bilateral aspects.
The Russian Tourism Year in China, which kicked off on March 23, is expected to increase the number of tourist exchanges, or people-to-people communication, from 3.35 million tourists in 2011 to 5 million by 2015.
In early April, the two neighboring countries will hold a joint military drill in which their flagships will participate in anti-submarine maneuvers on the Yellow Sea, according to analysts.
During Wednesday's meeting, Medvedev said he was confident of realizing the bilateral trade goal set at $100 billion in 2015 and $200 billion in 2020.
"Those are clear signs of enduring high-level and deep Sino-Russia cooperation," said a senior official of a regional government of the Russian Federation.
"Though Russia was close to Western thinking on some issues sometimes, it is closer to Chinese thinking in most others," said Sergei Minenko, general representative of the Irkutsk regional government of the Russian Federation in China.
He said only very few countries are labeled, like China, as being "Russia's strategic partner" — a recognition of Russia's trust and importance in the country.
Experts in economic and foreign policies agreed with Minenko that the "comprehensive strategic partnership" of the two will continue to bear fruit.
Cheng Yijun, director of the Institute of Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Russia's diplomatic and economic stance toward China will not change and will continue to reflect the will of the Putin-Medvedev tandem.
Cheng said enhanced cooperation is the "only choice" as the two neighboring emerging economies share "interests that converge".
Xing Guangcheng, deputy-director of the Center of China's Borderland History and Geography Research at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, added that China and Russia's engagement on the Syrian issue is not an ad hoc cooperation, but rather a move that is constant with the two countries' "inherent" strategy.
"China and Russia hold different moral principles and values than those of the West. They will continue the track of strategic partnership."
Josef Janning, director of studies at the European Policy Center in Brussels, said the two heads are meeting at a time when the two countries are faced with new and ambitious domestic development plans.
To realize its domestic agenda, Janning said that China is looking for partners worldwide that can help it out. Meanwhile, Russia has set its modernization plan and development blueprint in the Far East, which is an opportunity for both sides to deepen cooperation.