Russia's new president Dmitry Medvedev says his country seeks what he calls a reasonable, pragmatic and friendly relationship with giant neighbor, China. He arrived in Beijing Friday for a two day visit - as part of his first trip abroad since he took office earlier this month. Stephanie Ho has more on the story.
Ties between former Cold War rivals, China and Russia, are warming. Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Li Hui says his government appreciates the Russian leader's choice of destinations.
He says President Medvedev's decision to make China one of his first foreign visits only half a month after taking office ful ly demonstrates the high degree of importance he and the Russian government place on the China-Russia relationship.
The Russian leader's Beijing schedule includes meetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and other senior Chinese leaders.
The two countries are expected to discuss energy issues, as well as military cooperation and trade.
Russian Ambassador to China, Sergey Razov, told reporters the two countries share many similar views on major international issues. He says on sensitive issues, including the Iran and Korean peninsula nuclear issues, among others, they have a common position.
Jing-dong Yuan, an associate professor at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, says the two countries already have strong defense cooperation.
"This is the most, probably salient, component of this relationship," said Yuan. "China has imported major weapons systems from Russia, and also military technology transfer, over the last decade and a half. And they have, in recent years, moved beyond simple arms sales to joint military exercise and other military cooperation."
He says the two countries are likely to expand their cooperation in space and nuclear technology.
At the same time, he says both countries need to work on expanding economic ties.
"Currently, the bilateral trade is only $48 billion annually, so it's very low for countries such as China and Russia, two big economies and neighboring countries," said Yuan.
Official Chinese media say the Russian leader's visit coincides with the release of a Chinese language version of "Russian National Development Issues," a collection of speeches President Medvedev gave when he was recently the country's prime minister. Chinese authorities also have designed a set of special stamps and a commemorative envelope to mark the visit.
The Russian leader came to China after stopping in Kazakhstan Thursday. He is scheduled to deliver a speech at Peking University Saturday.