AFP, Tuesday 23 May 2023
Russian PM Mishustin arrived late Monday in Shanghai where he was greeted at the airport by Moscow s ambassador to China and Beijing s top diplomat to Russia. Photo courtesy of Russian news agency TASS
In the current situation, Russia will continue fostering relations with China and other countries who are ready for cooperation, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said at the Russia-China Business Forum in Shanghai on Tuesday, Russian state media TASS reported.
According to him, Russia’s foreign trade grew by more than 8 percent to $850 billion last year, with exports rising by about 20 percent.
Mishustin arrived late Monday in Shanghai where he was greeted at the airport by Moscow’s ambassador to China Igor Morgulov and Beijing’s top diplomat to Russia Zhang Hanhui, the ministry said.
The Russian head of government will also visit a petrochemical research institute in Shanghai, the Kremlin said, as well as hold talks with “representatives of Russian business circles”.
China last year became the top energy customer for Russia, whose gas exports had otherwise plummeted after a flurry of Western sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.
On Tuesday there was an increased police presence around Shanghai’s Russian consulate and the nearby conference halls where the forum was taking place.
Mishustin will next travel to Beijing, where he will meet with Xi and Premier Li Qiang, Russian state media TASS has said.
China and Russia have in recent years ramped up economic cooperation and diplomatic contacts, with their strategic partnership having grown closer as China maintains a neutral position toward the war in Ukraine.
In February, Beijing released a paper calling for a “political settlement” to the conflict. Western countries have said the settlement could enable Russia to hold much of the territory it has seized in Ukraine.
During a March summit in Moscow, Xi invited President Vladimir Putin to visit Beijing.
Analysts say China holds the upper hand in the relationship with Russia, and that its sway is growing as Moscow’s international isolation deepens.
This article was originally published by Agence France-Presse.