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Chinese President Xi: Local ties key to relations

Baku, September 12, AZERTAC

President Xi Jinping has called on China and Russia to further step up cooperation at local levels, refine the policy environment and create a more enabling atmosphere for businesses to make investments, according to chinadaily.com.cn.

Xi made the remark as he attended the dialogue between local leaders from China and Russia together with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok. Xi is in the city to attend the fourth Eastern Economic Forum.

Xi said cooperation at local levels is playing an increasingly important role in bilateral relations, and that cooperation also faces new situations, tasks and demands as well as historic opportunities in the new era.

The two sides should give play to the role of local governments to enable better coordination and encourage more friendship between local areas so that businesses from both sides have more convenient conditions for cooperation.

There should be more innovative ideas for cooperation and expanded cooperative areas so that platforms for teamwork can be put to better use, he said, adding that current mechanisms should be better developed and new methods of regional collaboration should be explored.

The two sides should also take greater advantage of complementary strengths and local characteristics, he said.

Cultural and people-to-people exchanges should be further promoted so that the social foundation of cooperation can be further consolidated, he said.

Xi added that the two countries should push forward more institutionalized and regular exchanges in areas including local culture, tourism, education and media so that bilateral recognition and favorable impressions can be further enhanced.

Xi and Putin have designated 2018 and 2019 as years to focus on cooperation and exchanges between the two countries at local levels.

China is the largest trading partner as well as source of foreign direct investment in Russia's Far East, according to Li Hui, Chinese ambassador to Russia.

There are about 140 provincial areas or cities in China that have close, friendly relations with their Russian counterparts, Li wrote in an article published on Tuesday.

The two sides have also established the Yangtze River-Volga River and China's Northeast-Russia's Far East cooperative mechanisms for regional cooperation, he said.

They are also working to develop international transportation corridors, including roads linking Chinese cities with ports in the Russian Far East as well as a bridge across the Heilongjiang River, according to the ambassador.

On Tuesday, Xi and Putin visited the Far East Street exhibition, a part of the Eastern Economic Forum, which includes many Chinese elements in a nod to the close partnership between China and Russia.

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