Before paying a state visit to Russia, Tanzania, South Africa and the Republic of the Congo and attends the Fifth BRICS Leaders Meeting, President Xi Jinping gave a joint interview to ITAR-TASS and RTR of Russia, ETV of South Africa, Press Trust of India, Valor Economico of Brazil and Xinhua News Agency of China in the Great Hall of the People on 19 March. During the interview, he talked about China's policies and positions on China's bilateral relations with relevant countries, China-Africa relations, BRICS cooperation and China's reform and opening-up. The following is a full text of the interview.
Xi Jinping: I will soon pay a state visit to Russia, Tanzania, South Africa and the Republic of the Congo and attend the Fifth BRICS Leaders Meeting in South Africa.
I am delighted to give this joint interview to the media from BRICS countries before the trip. Let me take this opportunity to extend, through you, my sincere greetings to the people of your respective countries.
This will be my first foreign visit as Chinese President. During the visit and the BRICS meeting, I will exchange views with leaders of the aforementioned countries and other BRICS countries on developing bilateral ties, international and regional issues of mutual interest and strengthening BRICS cooperation. I hope that this visit will contribute to the friendship between the Chinese people and people of these countries as well as the mutually beneficial cooperation between China and these countries and push the BRICS cooperation mechanism to a new level. I believe that with the joint efforts of all sides, my visit and the Fifth BRICS Leaders Meeting will be a success.
ITAR-TASS and RTR of Russia: Russia will be the first country that you visit in your capacity as Chinese President. What's your consideration behind this decision? How would you characterize the level of development of the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination between Russia and China as well as the current state and future prospects of Russia-China cooperation in the political, economic, cultural and other fields? We know that you know a lot about Russia and have read many Russian literature works. How do you see Russia?
Xi Jinping: China and Russia are each other's major and most important strategic partners of coordination, and both countries accord priority to their bilateral relationship in their overall diplomatic agenda and foreign policy. The fact that I will visit Russia, our friendly neighbor, shortly after assuming presidency is a testimony to the great importance China places on its relations with Russia and to the high level and special nature of the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination between the two countries.
With over 20 years of unremitting efforts from both sides, China-Russia relationship has grown into a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination. The two sides have completely settled the boundary issue left from history, placed their political ties on a solid foundation, and supported each other on issues concerning their respective core interests. Two-way trade between China and Russia surged by 14 times in 20 years and reached a record US$88.2 billion last year. Cooperation on major strategic projects in energy, investment, aviation and space and other fields is booming, and cultural and people-to-people exchanges are dynamic. The two sides have had closer strategic coordination on the world stage and promoted democracy in international relations.
China-Russia relations have entered a new phase in which the two countries provide major development opportunities to each other and see each other as priority cooperation partners. When it comes to developing bilateral ties and addressing major international and regional issues, our two countries have many things in common and face many opportunities for win-win cooperation. To grow China-Russia relations at the next stage, we should focus on the following priority areas: First, we should consolidate mutual strategic and political trust and reinforce mutual support on issues concerning each other's core interests. Second, we should expand practical cooperation. We should work to reach ahead of schedule the US$100 billion bilateral trade target set for 2015, enter into strategic cooperation on energy, carry out cooperation on major strategic projects, and deepen cultural and people-to-people exchanges and cooperation. Third, we should step up coordination and collaboration in international and regional affairs, firmly uphold the purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and the basic norms governing international relations, safeguard the outcomes of the Second World War and the post-war international order, and maintain peace, security and stability of the world. In short, China and Russia have the confidence and ability to translate the strength of their high-level political relationship into concrete results of practical cooperation that will benefit people of the two countries.
The people of China and Russia enjoy a long-standing traditional friendship and a solid foundation for people-to-people and cultural exchanges. Even when I was still young, I had read many works by Russian writers, such as Pushkin, Lermontov, Turgenev, Dostoyevsky, Nekrasov, Tolstoy, Chekhov and Sholokhov, whose works had a large impact on us. The Chinese people cherish profound goodwill toward the people of Russia.
I look forward to an in-depth exchange of views on further growing China-Russia relations with President Vladimir Putin and other Russian leaders. I have met with President Putin before. He attaches high importance to Russia's ties with China. We found a lot in common during our talks, which I still remember vividly.