BEIJING (XINHUA) - Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will jointly witness the opening ceremony of the two countries' nuclear energy cooperation project via video link on Wednesday (May 19).
The smooth kick-off of the project will promote the upgrading of bilateral ties, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Tuesday.
Mr Zhao said this year marks the 20th anniversary of the signing of the China-Russia Treaty of Good-Neighbourliness and Friendly Cooperation, and the event on Wednesday will be the first bilateral online exchange between Mr Xi and Mr Putin this year.
It would be significant in guiding the high-level development of the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination in the new era, he said.
Mr Zhao said nuclear energy cooperation is a traditional priority area of collaboration between the two countries, and has developed rapidly in recent years, attracting a lot of attention from the two heads of state.
In June 2018, Mr Xi and Mr Putin jointly witnessed the signing of a package of nuclear cooperation agreements, and both sides agreed to cooperate on the construction of Tianwan nuclear power plant units 7 and 8, and Xudapu nuclear power plant units 3 and 4.
It is the largest nuclear energy cooperation project between China and Russia so far, and represents a high level of practical cooperation between the two countries, Mr Zhao said.
He stressed that the smooth start of the four units demonstrates the significant achievements of China-Russia cooperation on high-end equipment manufacturing and technological innovation, and will promote the upgrade of bilateral cooperation in various fields.
Mr Zhao said carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced after the completion of the four units, noting that nuclear energy is clean and efficient. This reflected the firm determination of China to achieve the goal of carbon peak and carbon neutrality, as well as demonstrating its strong sense of responsibility as a major country.
In the light of escalating United States sanctions and restrictions, the cooperation in China-Russia civilian nuclear technology is further validation that both countries are moving closer to each other, observers said.
"High- and new-technology sector has been a key sector. And China could replace some US technology with Russian ones in the face of rising technological and trade restrictions from the US," Mr Li Xin, director of the Centre for Russian and Central Asia Studies at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, told nationalistic tabloid Global Times on Tuesday.