President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will take part in an online ceremony on Wednesday to launch construction of nuclear energy projects, as the two countries intensify cooperation amid the global economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
At a news conference on Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that Xi and Putin will use the event to conduct their first online exchanges this year, which are important to guiding high-level development of the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era.
Nuclear energy cooperation has been a priority for the partnership.
In June 2018, China National Nuclear Corp and Russia's State Atomic Energy Corporation agreed to jointly build the No 7 and No 8 power units at the Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, and the No 3 and No 4 power units at the Xudabu Nuclear Plant in Huludao, Liaoning province.
Xi and Putin witnessed the signing of the 20 billion yuan ($3.1 billion) deal, which is the biggest cooperation project on nuclear energy between the two nations.
The construction of the joint projects comes as the two countries celebrate the 20th anniversary of their signing of the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation between China and Russia.
It also takes place as China is taking steps toward achieving peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060. China has vowed to improve its industrial structure and energy mix. While promoting clean and efficient use of coal, it is also developing new energy sources and has taken steps toward developing nuclear energy while ensuring its safe use.
Construction of the four power units demonstrates the major achievements of China-Russia cooperation in the fields of high-end manufacturing and scientific and technological innovation. It will also help the two countries upgrade pragmatic cooperation in other fields, Zhao said.
Stressing nuclear energy is clean and highly efficient, Zhao said using it will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions while demonstrating China's resolve to achieve its carbon emissions targets, which a responsible major country should pursue.
Besides their close communication and coordination in international affairs, economic cooperation between China and Russia has also gained momentum in recent years. Trade volume between the two countries reached $107.8 billion last year despite the pandemic, the third consecutive year the figure exceeded $100 billion.