Chinese President Hu Jintao

to visit Russia in Late March


MOSCOW (Reuters, Moscow Times) Chinese President Hu Jintao will visit Russia toward the end of this month in a journey aimed at strengthening ties and developing trade.


Hu will arrive March 26, a spokeswoman for the Russian-Chinese Center for Trade and Economic Cooperation, Irina Shkolyar, said Monday. Hu's visit is set to coincide with the opening of a Chinese trade exhibition in Moscow and the start of the Year of China in Russia, a yearlong series of social and economic festivities.


The Chinese Embassy could not confirm the date or provide specific information about the visit, saying the exact details would be released at a news conference in the coming days.


Details of documents to be signed during the visit will be revealed some time next week, Interfax quoted Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Li Hui as telling reporters in Beijing.


Ties between the two economic giants have been growing as China seeks to secure Russian energy supplies and as the Kremlin seeks to build alliances with one of Asia's fastest-growing powers.


Arms trading has also been critical, with Beijing reviving Russia's weapons industry by purchasing 40 percent of its exports -- which supply 90 percent of China's defense requirements.


China will also boost its participation in the Russian construction sector this year, having agreed to a deal in February for 40 projects to be carried out by 13 Chinese companies.