Page last updated at 09:21 GMT, Friday, 23 May 2008 10:21 UK

New Russian leader visits China

Dmitry Medvedev, file photo from 6 March, 2008
Mr Medvedev said China was an important foreign policy partner

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has arrived in Beijing as he continues his first official foreign tour.

Mr Medvedev, 42, who took office this month, will meet President Hu Jintao and other leaders for a two-day visit expected to focus mainly on trade.

Russia and China have built close ties over recent years and trade is booming.

Mr Medvedev arrived after visiting Kazakhstan, which he urged to keep exporting most of its oil through Russian pipelines.

"Our foreign policy should be reasonable, pragmatic and at the same time friendly and open," Mr Medvedev told Chinese journalists before his arrival.

"And we absolutely include China among our most important foreign policy partners."

Trade between Russia and China has grown rapidly over recent years, with China emerging as Russia's second largest trading partner after the European Union.

BBC Russia analyst Steven Eke says China's own economic success, its huge population, and the resulting demand for energy, spell major opportunities for Russian state energy corporations.


He says an important political dimension to Sino-Russian co-operation is a rejection of American dominance.

Under the previous Russian President, Vladimir Putin, Russia and China moved to cement their ties through the creation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

They were joined by four of the Central Asian countries.

The organisation has evolved into a forum for economic co-operation, intelligence-sharing and counter-terrorism.

Despite all this, our correspondent says many Russians are wary of China's emergence as such a formidable regional power, threatening to overshadow traditional Russian dominance.

Mr Medvedev is due in Germany in early June to see Chancellor Angela Merkel, a leader sometimes outspoken in her criticism of Russia.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific