MOSCOW: Russia and China on Monday pledged to ramp up efforts to promote a just world order as they signed dozens of deals ranging from energy to finance.
Visiting Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev oversaw the signing of 38 agreements, including a deal to open a yuan-ruble swap line worth 150 billion yuan ($24.5 billion) in an apparent bid to reduce dependence on the US dollar.
Li’s first visit to Russia as prime minister comes at a sensitive time, with the Kremlin locked in a battle of wills with Washington and Brussels over Ukraine.
Accused by Kiev and the West of stoking a bloody insurgency in eastern Ukraine, Russia is facing its most serious isolation since the end of the Cold War, with its economy shaken by several rounds of Western sanctions.
Russia hopes intensified cooperation with Asia will help it ride out EU and US sanctions.
After talks with Li in Moscow, Medvedev said the two countries should think many moves ahead.
“My colleague Mr Prime Minister just recently noticed that our peoples like to play checkers and chess. And those who think strategically play checkers and chess well,” Medvedev told reporters after the talks.
“And also those who think about the future play well, that is why we should think about the future, developing our relations for years to come.”
Li, who is set to meet President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, also resorted to allegory, saying Russia’s famous nesting doll symbolised huge joint opportunities.
“I believe that the matryoshka symbolises the vast potential for cooperation between China and Russia,” he said in comments translated into Russian.
“Both countries are full of determination to develop eternal friendship and together defend peace and stability in the region and the world on the whole.”
The two countries agreed to jointly celebrate the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II next year, a hugely symbolic date in Russia.