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Meeting between Chinese Defence Minister & Putin

Beginning of Meeting with Chinese Defence Minister Cao Ganchuan

PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: Dear colleagues,

Dear Chinese friends,

Allow me to wish you a warm welcome to Russia.

Dear Comrade Minister, this is not the first time we meet and I am very happy to see you here.

We in Russia know well your feelings towards our country and remember that you studied here at the Military Academy. Today you are making a significant contribution to developing our bilateral relations. During meetings with my colleague, the President of the People’s Republic of China, we noted on a number of occasions that relations between our two countries have reached a very high level today. Both I and my friend, Chinese President Hu Jintao, think that Russian-Chinese relations today are at their highest point ever, or, at least, are at one of the highest points reached in the entire history of the relations between our countries.

In this context, military-technical and general military cooperation between Russia and China are of great interest, of course, and illustrate the level of cooperation and confidence that relations between our peoples and states have reached.

As you know, I recently telephoned Chinese President Hu Jintao to congratulate him and the entire Chinese people on the end of World War II in Asia and the victory over the militaristic regime in Japan. The Red Army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army made a great and invaluable contribution to this victory. Today, military personnel in both our countries carry out the mission of protecting and guaranteeing the security of our homelands and also have the mission of developing the spirit of cooperation between our two states and peoples.

I would like to congratulate you on the successful organisation of the military exercises that took place recently. I agree, of course, that the credit goes above all to the Chinese side because you were the organisers of these joint exercises. My Russian colleagues, including the Defence Minister, informed me of how well organised these events were and how impressively our Chinese colleagues carried out their responsibilities, including with regards to mastering the latest models of Russian arms. The results of this work together underscores once again the nature of our strategic partnership and the strategic cooperation between our countries. I am sure that your current visit will also serve to further reinforce our cooperation.

CHINESE DEFENCE MINISTER CAO GANCHUAN: My current visit to Russia is at the invitation of Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov. From the moment I arrived on Russian soil I felt surrounded by warmth and hospitality and felt that I was really being received as a friend. Sergei Ivanov and I had very fruitful talks yesterday, during which we discussed ways of further developing the friendly relations and cooperation that exist between our armed forces. We exchanged views on issues of mutual interest and arrived at a common view on all questions.

We were received by Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov, who I have known for a long time now, this morning before flying out from Moscow. Tomorrow we will have another opportunity to take part in a meeting to discuss further expanding our cooperation. I am aware that just before I left on this visit you called President Hu Jintao and congratulated him on the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II and the victory in the war against militaristic Japan.

President Hu Jintao asked me to pass on his warmest greetings and best wishes. Ceremonies were held just recently in China to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II and the victory against militaristic Japan. During these days we remember that, at this crucial and difficult moment in the war against militaristic Japan, the Red Army fought side by side with the Chinese army and the Chinese people in north-eastern China, and that together, we won the final victory. After the victory in the war, the Soviet Union extended a hand of friendship and help in rebuilding the Chinese economy. This is a valuable spiritual heritage that our countries share.

I agree with you that our bilateral relations are now at the highest point in all their history. Politically, confidence at the highest level has already been established between our countries. We are now expanding our trade and economic ties and our historic partnership has already reached out to take in all areas and sectors.

I want to assure you once again that developing relations with Russia is always a foreign policy priority for China.

The top officials in both our countries have already established very good contacts and personal relations between themselves and exchange regular visits and hold meetings at various international forums.

Next year we will be holding the Year of Russia in China, and preparations for this event are already well underway. President Hu Jintao said that as part of this event our armed forces should also do something. Another very important event for our bilateral relations will take place next year – Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to the People’s Republic of China.

I think that the view has already long since taken root in our peoples’ hearts that our countries will always be good neighbours, loyal friends and reliable partners.

Our military cooperation is no exception in this respect. The top military officials in both our countries are in regular contact with each other and meet often, and our cooperation covers many different areas. In particular, we work together on training military personnel. We have a very large number of military personnel receiving training in Russia and several of our army and division commanders who took part in the joint exercises we held also received training here in Russia.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: It is very pleasing to hear this.

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