Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev co-chair the 24th regular meeting between Chinese and Russian heads of government in St. Petersburg, Russia, Sept. 17, 2019. (Xinhua/Ding Lin)
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- China and Russia Tuesday agreed to further enhance cooperation in trade, energy and other areas, setting a goal to double bilateral trade volume.
The agreement came as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited Russia and co-chaired the 24th regular meeting between Chinese and Russian heads of government with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
Li said China stands ready to better align the Belt and Road Initiative with the Eurasian Economic Union, maintain the growing momentum of China-Russia trade and improve the level of trade and investment facilitation.
He encouraged both sides to strive for the goal to double bilateral trade volume.
China has been Russia's top trading partner for nine years running. Last year, two-way trade surged by 27.1 percent, breaking the 100-billion-U.S.-dollar mark for the first time.
Li called on China and Russia to jointly implement the major energy projects, further open up markets to each other and explore the cooperation mode of oil refining and chemical engineering.
He also called for enhanced cooperation in science and innovation, finance, agriculture, sub-national and people-to-people exchanges.
For his part, Medvedev said Russia is willing to further expand trade with China and will work hard to realize the goal of doubling the trade volume.
Besides bilateral cooperation in traditional areas such as energy, Russia will scale up cooperation on hi-tech and promote cooperation in areas including agriculture, industry, aviation and space, nuclear energy to yield more fruitful results, said Medvedev.
Russia attaches great importance to the sub-national cooperation and people-to-people exchanges, he said, adding that the country hopes to conduct more exchanges between young people, universities and local governments.
Li's visit was made on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of China-Russia diplomatic relations. During Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to Russia in June this year, China-Russia relationship was elevated to the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era.
As each other's biggest neighbors and permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, China and Russia boast healthy and stable ties, said Li.
Against the backdrop of growing uncertain and unstable factors in the international situation, it not only benefits both countries but also contributes to regional and world stability and prosperity that China and Russia enhance strategic coordination, reinforce political mutual trust, deepen pragmatic cooperation and intensify people-to-people and cultural exchanges, he said.
Medvedev said this year is of significance to Russia-China relations as it marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China as well as the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Noting that bilateral ties are now at their best in history, Medvedev said it is Russia's priority of foreign policy to develop ties with China as it accords with Russia's own needs.
He said both countries have been coordinating on the international stage and advocating that multilateral international rules should be followed while unilateral sanctions should be opposed.
During the meeting, Li and Medvedev were briefed by vice premiers of China Sun Chunlan and Hu Chunhua, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Anton Siluanov, and deputy prime ministers of Russia Dmitry Kozak, Tatyana Golikova and Maxim Akimov.
The two heads of government also had in-depth exchanges of views on international and regional issues of common concern.
After the meeting, Li and Medvedev signed a joint communique of the 24th regular meeting and witnessed the signing of a series of deals in areas including investment, economy and trade, agriculture, nuclear energy, aviation, science and technology, and digital economy.
Li arrived in St. Petersburg Monday afternoon for a three-day official visit.