Tang called Russia China's "main partner for strategic cooperation" and said, "this is the first time ever that China is establishing a mechanism of national security consultations with another country."
Tang said China had decided to establish a regular forum because China and Russia shared positions on key international and regional issues. "We have common strategic interests," he said.
Putin said relations between the two countries in political, economic and security spheres had been developing intensively. The Russian president said he looked forward to scheduled joint Russia-China military exercises later this year. China Daily, quoting "many observers," said the maneuvers were seen as Russia's response to cooling relations with the United States and other Western countries over the presidential election in Ukraine, Iraq and other issues.
China has felt a similar cooling, and has been developing close trade and investment ties, principally in energy areas, with Russia. Moscow and Beijing had been involved in what was termed a strategic partnership after the 1991 Soviet collapse, both sides pledging their interest in promoting a "multipolar world," i.e., one not dominated by the United States.
For some, the new embrace is reminiscent of the brief love affair the countries shared in Stalinist days.