China - Russia

Chronology from Jan 2008 to Mar 2008

:   A session of the SCO’s Council of the Regional Anti-terror Structure (RATS) in Tashkent signs into effect two documents: an agreement on cooperation in fighting the smuggling of arms, ammunition, and explosives and an agreement on personnel training for the SCO member states’ anti-terror formations. At the initiative of the Chinese, the session considers issues related to ensuring security during the Olympic games in China.

:   Iran submits an official membership application to SCO’s Secretariat, according to Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki during his visit to Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman comments the following day that China welcomes Iran’s desire to strengthen cooperation in all spheres with the SCO, but “The decision on the admission of Iran to the SCO should be made unanimously by all members of this organization.”

:   Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi discuss important bilateral issues by telephone, including the March 22 elections in Taiwan.

:   President Putin sends a letter to President Hu congratulating him on being re-elected president of China. Putin “re-confirms Russia’s intention to develop the strategic partnership with China to the benefit of our peoples and in the interests of strengthening international peace and security and building a just multipolar world order.” President-elect Medvedev sends a separate message to congratulate Hu.

:   National coordinators from the SCO member states meet in Beijing to discuss the Dushanbe summit of SCO heads of state and foreign ministers, and current affairs, including more cooperation with Afghanistan at the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group,”

: A direct military hot line is opened between Russian and Chinese defense establishments. Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and his Chinese counterpart Cao Gangchuan hold a telephone talk and agree the direct line ensures timely consultations and coordination between the two sides on hot issues around the world.

: In a phone talk with President Hu, President Putin calls for the continuation of the “comprehensive development of Russian-Chinese strategic cooperation.” Hu thanks Putin for Russia’s humanitarian aid for the snow disaster in southern China.

: Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan decide to sell gas at European prices (about $300 per 1,000 cubic meters) beginning January 2009.

: Russian Emergency Situations Ministry sends three IL-76 aircraft loaded with 10 heavy-duty diesel generators and 16,500 quilts in response to the snow disaster that struck southern China.

:  President Hu Jintao initiates a telephone talk with Russian President-elect Dmitry Medvedev. Hu congratulates Medvedev on winning the elections and wishes him success. He invites Medvedev to pay an official visit to China.

: Venshtorgbank (VTB), Russia’s biggest bank, opens its first Chinese branch in Shanghai. The Shanghai branch will cooperate with China UnionPay system to provide banking card services to both domestic and Russian clients. It also plans to offer RMB services within three years. VTB is the largest international banking group in Russia. Operating in 17 countries with assets of $80 billion, VTB is however a latecomer to China’s lucrative banking sector, now saturated by more than 300 foreign banks.

: China and Russia submit a joint proposal for an international treaty to ban the deployment of weapons in outer space at the UN-sponsored Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

:   Xi Jinping, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), meets Gennady Zyuganov, president of the Communist Party of Russian Federation in Beijing. Xi praises the recent development of the China-Russia strategic partnership, vow that China is committed to making joint efforts with the Russian side to boost the partnership. Zyuganov was in China on an invitation from the Chinese Communist Party.

:   Sino-Russian trade reached $48 billion in 2007, up 44.3 percent year-on-year and the highest annual growth since 1993.

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