TASHKENT, June 23 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin met here Thursday on enhancing bilateral ties and promoting the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)'s role in regional development and security.
The two heads of state met briefly late Thursday ahead of the 16th SCO summit in Tashkent and Putin's upcoming visit to China on Saturday.
Noting that this year marks the 15th anniversary of the signing of the China-Russia good-neighborly treaty of friendship and cooperation and the 20th anniversary of the two countries' strategic partnership of coordination, Xi said Putin's state visit to China bears special significance.
China is willing to join hands with Russia to carry forward their friendship from generation to generation, consolidate political and strategic mutual trust, and beef up support to each other, Xi said.
The two countries should push for the alignment of the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), and carry out closer coordination in major international and regional affairs, Xi said.
China stands ready to make joint efforts with Russia to play a positive role in the SCO's steady and healthy development, he said.
The SCO members should expand mutual support, deepen convergence of interest through win-win cooperation, and gradually resolve differences through dialogue and consultation, Xi said.
The Chinese president also urged SCO member states to facilitate regional trade and investment so as to further activate practical cooperation within the organization.
On strengthening security cooperation, Xi called for working out an anti-extremism convention at an early date and improving the mechanism for drug control.
For his part, Putin extended his deep sympathy and heartfelt condolences over the serious casualties and losses caused by a tornado that hit China's Jiangsu province Thursday.
The Russian president said he is looking forward to the upcoming state visit to China and an in-depth exchange of views with Xi on boosting bilateral ties and cooperation.
The SCO has huge influence in safeguarding regional peace and stability as well as promoting regional economic integration, said Putin.
The Russian president agreed with Xi on synergizing the EEU and the Belt and Road Initiative within the SCO framework, adding that he hopes new members' entry into the SCO would help the organization play a bigger role in international affairs.
Pakistan and India are expected to sign a memorandum of obligation to join the SCO at the 16th summit slated for Thursday and Friday, which is a key step for the two countries to obtain membership of the organization.