|64.491||United States Dollar|
Playing down speculation that the two countries warmed up to deal with the new US policy to step up its military engagement in Asia-Pacific, Chinese President Hu Jintao said a closer China-Russia relationship would benefit, apart from themselves, the world as well. Russia is China's most important partner in strategic coordination and the development of relations between the two countries remains healthy and positive, Hu, who had wide ranging talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin here on Tuesday night and signed a host of agreements, said.
Putin is in China to attend the 12th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit which started here on Wednesday. China and Russia are the dominant members of the alliance which also comprised Central Asian states of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia are observer states in the SCO.
During Hu-Putin meeting, the two sides signed more than 10 key commercial contracts including setting-up an investment fund worth USD 4 billion. Putin also said the two countries are speeding up development and research on commercial aircraft and helicopters. The commercial contracts, which Putin described as "crucial", also include Russia building two nuclear power plants in China, and more cooperation in the electricity, tourism and energy sectors.
China, however, denied any effort to convert the SCO into a NATO-style military alliance.