Putin invites Hu to G8 summit as Russia takes up presidency
Russian President Vladimir Putin has invited Hu Jintao to attend the Group of Eight summit of leading industrialised countries in St Petersburg in July, Russia's foreign minister said.
Sergei Lavrov made the announcement in Beijing yesterday as the presidents held talks in the capital. It was unclear whether Mr Hu would attend a formal meeting of the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain, the US and Russia, or be there as a dialogue partner of the summit as before.
The G8 summit will be the first presided over by Russia, and if Mr Hu is invited to attend the formal meeting, it will be a first for a mainland leader.
Mr Hu made his first appearance at a G8 meeting in 2003, making a presentation at the informal North-South session in France. He also attended the annual session last year in Britain between group members and leaders of India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico.
Yesterday, Mr Lavrov also said both countries were interested in expanding co-operation in nuclear engineering. "The potential for co-operation in the nuclear industry, including the construction of new nuclear power stations, is expanding," he said.
Mr Lavrov stressed that both countries had shared views on most international issues.
"The positions of Russia and China on the most acute international problems practically coincide," he said. "Both nations are based on a common approach to solving all international issues collectively, acting on a multilateral basis, avoiding confrontation and seeking compromises through dialogue."
He said Moscow and Beijing were interested in strengthening the UN and supported its reform, but without haste and on the principle of consensus.
In a speech to a China-Russian business forum yesterday morning, Mr Putin expressed concern about the current trade situation between the two economies, in which Russia's main exports to the mainland were energy resources.
He called on the mainland to broaden bilateral trade, saying excessive focus by Beijing on securing Russia's abundant resources could trigger "instabilities".
"Despite significant advances in Russian-Chinese links, it must be recognised openly that we still have here more than a few serious problems," Mr Putin said in a speech with Mr Hu sitting alongside him on stage.
Mr Putin urged efforts to "perfect the trade structure" and increase Russian exports of machinery and equipment to China.
Despite booming sales of Russian oil, gas and other resources to China, Russian exports of machinery and equipment plunged last year to about half of 2004 levels. There had been "marked growth" in Chinese exports of the same products to Russia.
Mr Hu urged both sides to "shift the co-operation pattern from the current trade-centred mode to one focusing on production and processing".
Mr Putin also held talks with Premier Wen Jiabao yesterday before leaving Beijing.