, NOVO-OGAREVO, Russia, Jun 17 – Chinese President Hu Jintao said that relations with Moscow would always be a "priority" for Beijing, at a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
"China will always look at its relations with Russia as a priority of its foreign policy," Hu said in opening remarks at the meeting at Putin’s residence outside Moscow.
"In the midst of the global financial crisis, we are actively developing relations in every sphere. In this way we have reached a new level," he said, speaking through a translator.
Hu also praised the "very honest intergovernmental relations between our countries."
Putin welcomed Hu and noted that the Chinese leader had made "constructive proposals" during a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) earlier this week in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg.
"I carefully reviewed your speech at the SCO summit. There were some constructive proposals in the infrastructure and financial spheres," he said.
SCO is a regional grouping of Russia, China and four Central Asian countries that has been seen as a potential counterweight to Western-led international organisations like NATO.
"Despite the global financial crisis the relations between our countries are immune to economic or political ruptures," Putin said.
The two leaders were to oversee an intergovernmental meeting on Wednesday and Hu was scheduled to meet Russian President Dmitry Medvedev later in the day.
Ties between Moscow and Beijing have warmed in recent years after a period during the Cold War when the two giant neighbours were rivals for supremacy in the Communist world.
Last year the two countries signed a landmark deal to build a pipeline connecting Siberian oil fields to energy-hungry China. Beijing has been eager to obtain greater access to Russia’s immense energy resources.