Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrives in St. Petersburg, Russia, Nov. 6, 2016, for the 21st China-Russia Prime Ministers' Regular Meeting and an official visit. (Xinhua/Rao Aimin)
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived in St.Petersburg on Sunday for the 21st China-Russia Prime Ministers' Regular Meeting and an official visit to the northern neighbor.
During the trip, Li and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, will discuss issues of common concern, and the two sides are expected to sign cooperation agreements in such areas as trade, energy, customs and education.
Li is also scheduled to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Russian capital of Moscow.
The Russian side held a welcoming ceremony at the airport in Li's honor. St. Petersburg is the hometown of Medvedev who paid a visit during his China trip in 2013 to Anhui, Premier Li's home province.
The arrangement mirrors the sound momentum of the development of China-Russia ties.
This year marks the 15th anniversary of the signing of the China-Russia Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation and the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the China-Russia strategic partnership of coordination.
China believes that the visit will inject fresh impetus into the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination, said Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Li Huilai at a press conference last week in Beijing.
The high-level partnership between Russia and China has played a crucial part in helping maintain a fair and just world order, and the two nations firmly uphold stability and security in the world, Sergei Luzyanin, director of the Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told Xinhua in a recent interview.
On economic and trade cooperation, Chinese Ambassador to Russia Li Hui said in late October that thanks to efforts by both sides, China-Russia trade halted falling and began to grow in the first half of this year, totaling 31.72 billion U.S. dollars, up 1.8 percent over the same period of last year.
He also expressed confidence in the prospects of cooperation between the two countries, citing their highly complementary economies and their agreement to synergize the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).
The belt is part of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, which also includes the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and aspires to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road routes. The EEU groups Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia.
Russia is the last stop of Li's eight-day Eurasia trip, which has already carried him to Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Latvia.