China And Russia Forge New Energy And Trade Links

Chinese President Hu Jintao is overseeing his country's largest trade fair in a foreign country - in Russia - one day after he and President Vladimir Putin finalized energy and trade deals worth four-billion dollars. VOA's Lisa McAdams in Moscow has details.

Nearly 200 Chinese companies are exhibiting their wares at the National Exhibit of China in Moscow - a sign of growing economic ties between the two nations.

Before opening the trade fair, Hu met Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov, who proposed more frequent meetings to pave the way for increased trade.

The Chinese president kicked off his three-day visit Monday by meeting President Putin at the Kremlin. There, they signed a joint declaration pledging to further develop oil, gas and electricity ties. Deals were also forged between Russian and Chinese banks and between the two nation's space agencies.

Apart from growing economic interests, Russia and Chinese officials have long expressed desire to unite against what they have called the danger of U.S. domination on the international scene.

Hu made a veiled reference to this following his talks at the Kremlin, saying a joint political declaration signed Monday was aimed at promoting multi-polarity and democratization of foreign relations.

Fyodor Lukyanov is the editor of the journal, "Russia in Global Affairs." He tells VOA that he doubts Russia and China will ever walk truly in tandem. At the same time, he says such declarations of intent can not be ignored, especially by the United States.

"I think both Russia and China are interested to show some kind of unity and cooperation, politically, militarily and economically, to demonstrate for the United States that there are a lot of options in the contemporary world. But, seriously, neither Russia, nor China, today are interested in a big confrontation with the United States. So, it is some kind of political game."

Lyukanov likens the game to, quote, "psychological warfare."

It is Hu's third trip to Russia since becoming president. He is scheduled to leave Moscow late Tuesday for oil-rich Tatarstan, before returning to China on Wednesday.