Oct. 11 - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao welcomes Russia's Vladimir Putin to Beijing in a visit that will be overshadowed by disagreements over a huge gas deal. Nick Rowlands reports.
A welcome ceremony in Beijing for the Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin. Putin is meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Premier Wen Jiabao, for talks aimed at deepening the relationship between the two countries. A major sticking point will be negotiations over a huge gas deal that has still not been finalised despite years of wrangling. At a news conference, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said he hoped the countries could continue to cooperate. (SOUNDBITE)(Mandarin) CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN LIU WEIMIN: "China and Russia are friendly neighbours and strategic partners. Both sides have made progress in cooperations in various areas in recent years. We believe through Prime Minister Putin's visit this time, the China-Russia strategic cooperative partnership will achieve a new level." Despite protestations of brotherly goodwill between Beijing and Moscow, the relationship is held back by mutual distrust that lingers from the Cold War era. But the two giant neighbours have recently found common ground in opposing what they see as excessive meddling on the international stage by the U.S. and its allies. Prime Minister Putin is due to meet Chinese President Hu Jintao on Wednesday. Nick Rowlands, Reuters.