Russia will be Xi Jinping’s first foreign destination of the new year, it’s been confirmed, in a trend following last year’s visit to the country which marked his first foreign trip as as Chinese President. This is going to make diplomatic birthday gatherings so much less awkward.
Xi will stay in Russia from February 6 to 8 to attend the opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, making his the first attendance by a Chinese president at a major overseas sports event.
So many firsts for these two.
The move is predicted to further deepen Sino-Russia relations as interactions become less formal, Xinhua explains:
Prof. Yuri Tavrovsky at the Moscow-based Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, told Xinhua that it is a new step of bilateral ties that state leaders extend their interactions from traditional diplomatic occasions to less formal ones such as cultural and sports events.
Last year, besides Xi’s state visit, the Chinese president and Russian President Putin met four times at international events.
They were the BRICS summit in Durban of South Africa, the G20 summit in St. Petersburg of Russia, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Bishkek of Kyrgyzstan and the informal economic leaders’ meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in Bali of Indonesia.
We didn’t think it could get much more casual than the duo celebrating Putin’s birthday with a bottle of vodka and sandwiches, but prove us wrong!
The two countries this year will also celebrate the 65th anniversary marking the establishment of their diplomatic relations, and Xinhua reports that closer Sino-Russia ties “serves as an important guarantee of world peace and stability.”
China and Russia have already cooperated with one another on a number of international issues including a bilateral oil trade agreement, and the countries have worked to further foster tourism ties and humanistic exchanges.
In 2014 and 2015, each country will also host the China-Russia Youth Year of Friendship exchanges. (!!!)