By Xinhua writer Wang Jian
HARBIN, July 1 (Xinhua) -- Bilateral cooperation and exchanges in high technology and related industries have been the focus during the ongoing China-Russia Exposition in Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.
On the sidelines of the event, the two countries' governments have signed a memorandum of understanding agreeing to cooperate in satellite navigation and promote the integration of China's Beidou Navigation Satellite System and Russia's Global Navigation Satellite System.
Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang said he hopes the two countries will take this opportunity to establish a working mechanism, make clear the cooperation direction, select good cooperative programs and create working plans, to make cooperation a new highlight of the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Russia.
Ran Chengqi, director of the China Satellite Navigation Office, said the two countries plan to build monitoring stations in each other's territory, which will promote the integration of the two satellite navigation systems and improve the performance of the two systems.
"Our cooperation in the field of satellite navigation never targets a third party," he said, adding that the integration of multiple satellite navigation systems must be the trend ahead internationally.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said the two systems can complement each other and that Russia is also looking forward to cooperating with China in other aerospace fields such as the exploration of the Moon and Mars.
China and Russia have been increasing cooperation and exchanges in science and technology.
In a joint statement signed by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin on May 20 during the fourth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia in Shanghai, the two countries vowed to improve the efficiency of their cooperation in the field of high and new technology and deepen their scientific exchanges.
EXPLORING CHINESE MARKET
Booths showcasing the products and technology of high-tech companies have become a highlight in the exhibition hall of the first China-Russia Exposition, which is scheduled to last from Monday to Friday.
Denis Shatunov is deputy director of the technical development department of Russia's Rostec RT-Chemcomposite company. He has been looking for potential Chinese buyers of his firm's special glass products used in trains and aircrafts.
"This is our first time at an exposition in China," he said. "Our products have mainly been exported to the European Union. We have not entered the Chinese market yet."
He said the company is looking forward to cooperating with Chinese enterprises in terms of both technology and products.
"Relations between China and Russia are becoming better and better, and I believe that the Chinese market has potential for us," he said.
In a booth of helicopter design and manufacturing company Russian Helicopters, three model helicopters are catching the eye.
Alexander Mikheev, company CEO, said it is showcasing their newest developments, in particular, the Mi-38 passenger transport helicopter and medium multirole Mi-171A2, which can be operated by both commercial and state helicopter operators in China.
The first China-Russia Exposition is an upgraded version of the China Harbin International Economic and Trade Fair that was initiated in 1990.
The "upgrade" can be seen as one of the many measures that now Russia and China jointly undertake to strengthen their trade and economic ties, to stimulate both investment and region-to-region cooperation, said Associate Professor of St. Petersburg State University Leksytuina Yana.
"The expo is expected to promote the expansion and diversification of bilateral trade and economic relations, to give an impetus to Russia-China investment cooperation," she said.
This "upgrade" should be seen within a broader context of Russia's new "pivot to Asia" where China is a major player, according to Alexander Korolev, Associate Professor of the School of Asian Studies of the National Research University Higher School of Economics.
"The most powerful stabilizer of inter-state relations is not armies and missiles, firearms and vessels, but economic cooperation," he said, "economic interactions create the most powerful links which cannot be broken overnight."
Russia is a major trade partner of China. Bilateral trade volume neared 90 billion U.S. dollars in 2013. In the first four months of 2014, bilateral trade volume grew by 3.4 percent year on year to 29.06 billion U. S. dollars, official statistics showed.
Besides economic and scientific cooperation, the expo is also a platform for cultural, educational and people-to-people exchanges.